Simon Cowell admits he was “so late” finding judges for The X Factor 2018

Syco mogul's dawdling helped Ayda Williams win her place on the panel

Simon Cowell has admitted that the surprise addition of Ayda Williams to The X Factor 2018 panel was partly because he left it to the last minute to secure judges.

The line-up for this year’s series was announced on 16th July – just two days before the arena auditions began filming.

Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda were confirmed as two of three new additions, alongside One Direction star Louis Tomlinson.

However, Ayda’s involvement has caused a stir among viewers due to her lack of obvious music industry experience.

Now Simon has confessed that one reason the actress got the job was that he was “so late” at signing up judges.

Speaking on today’s edition of ITV’s Lorraine, the Syco boss said: “It happened partly because Ayda and Lauren [Silverman, Simon’s girlfriend] are best friends.

“And then we left it so late, because I like doing that sometimes… every year, but even later this time.

“Then we just had a couple of conversations, wrote some very large cheques – I’m talking vulgar huge.”

But the story didn’t end there, as Robbie revealed that Ayda’s offer was also a ploy to get him on board.

The ‘Candy’ singer told Dan Wootton: “Ayda got a call in the car from Nigel, the producer of the show, and said, ‘Do you think Rob will do it if you do it too?’

“Instantly I was like, ‘that makes complete sense, I’m totally in’.”

It seems to be one of the best decisions Robbie has made, as he’s loving his new job.

“Do you know the amazing thing is, since starting to do the show, I can’t believe I haven’t done it before,” he said. “I’m having the best time.”

Simon has since defended Ayda’s place on the panel, noting that she brings a “different perspective” to the show.

The X Factor returns to ITV tomorrow and Sunday at 8.00pm on ITV.