Dermot O’Leary isn’t sure The X Factor Celebrity winner will be a successful artist

Show host sceptical about Simon Cowell's move to offer champ a record deal

Dermot O’Leary has admitted that The X Factor Celebrity “probably won’t” find a viable recording artist.

Simon Cowell’s music talent contest is currently gearing up for its new spin-off series, featuring celebrities as contestants.

As long-term fans are aware, it’s not the first time the concept has made it to air.

Back in 2006, actress Lucy Benjamin won The X Factor: Battle Of The Stars, but received no prize.

Simon subsequently branded it a “pointless” exercise that would never happen again.

“What we’re supposed to be looking for is a new artist,” he said.

“The only validity for my doing these shows is that I’m doing my day job on a TV – which is trying to find artists.”

Over a decade later, Simon has obviously had a change of heart – as X Factor Celebrity hits our screens in a fortnight.

In response to his previous comments, this time the Syco boss is offering the champion a recording contract.

However, show host Dermot doesn’t rate their chances of chart success – perhaps unsurprisingly given that regular X Factor winners haven’t been doing terribly well recently.

“We need to make a really fun Saturday night show. Whether we can find a recording artist, I have absolutely no idea,” he told Digital Spy.

“The chances are we probably won’t. But I love the idea of trying.”

Dermot’s comments are unlikely to reassure the famous contestants, who he says are being treated with “kid gloves”.

“With the regular show, if people are bad you want to be honest with them in real life – no-one respects someone who doesn’t tell the truth,” he added.

“But with the celebrities, the vibe is more kid gloves from what I’ve witnessed so far.

“The contestants are as invested, but a lot of them are nervous, and they desperately want to get through.”

Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger join Simon on the judging panel for X Factor: Celebrity, which begins in mid-October.

Contestants include quiz queen Jenny Ryan, a group of Love Island stars and Glee actor Kevin McHale.

It will precede another special edition in which ‘all-star’ former hopefuls battle to become champion of champions.