Simon Cowell sports a new scruffy beard at X Factor launch Scruffy beard looks.
Published: 16:43 GMT, 26 August 2015 | Updated: 10:58 GMT, 27 August 2015
He is a creature of habit when it comes to his appearance, rarely deviating from wearing baggy T-shirts with jeans.
And while Simon Cowell didn't change from his usual sartorial choice at Wednesday's X Factor launch, the 55-year-old music mogul surprised fans with a scruffy beard.
The usually clean cut star sported dark facial hair streaked with grey at the Picturehouse Central Cinema in London.
What a difference: Simon Cowell didn't change from his usual sartorial choice at Wednesday's X Factor launch but surprised fans with a scruffy beard
New look: The usually clean-shaven music mogul showed off a new beard in London on Wednesday
And he appeared to be in high spirits, flashing a huge smile as he walked the red carpet alongside his fellow judges Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Nick Grimshaw.
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The fourth panellist, Rita Ora, is currently on a promotional tour in America and had to miss the launch.
And Simon called his beard a symbol of his 'sense of freedom' but insisted he was not trying to be 'down with the kids' after a signing a new younger judging panel.
His big moment: Simon appeared in high spirits as he posed for assembled photographers on the red carpet
He said: 'I actually got lazy while I was on holiday and I thought I'd keep it. I'm sure it will come off in about a week.'
With the news that One Direction are taking a break, there will soon be a spot to fill for the world's best boyband. But Cowell said he is not looking to replace them with any of this year's X Factor contestants.
He said: 'There'll never be another One Direction and we shouldn't think of it like that. They've had an amazing run. It's not over yet. They've got some time off and they've got to decide what they want to do. But we're going to support them whatever they do.'
Louis Walsh has left the judging panel after 11 years and Cowell admitted he was missing his old pal.
Surprising: Simon usually prefers the clean cut look but decided to mix things up for the press launch
Laid back: Simon puffed on a cigarette as he arrived at the launch in London on Wednesday
He said: 'I do miss him but it was the right thing to do. We couldn't keep doing the same thing over and over because it was kind of getting a bit predictable with Louis.
'He's fine. I speak to Louis all the time and he'll do something else. But Nick is doing an amazing job.'
And speaking to Capital London Breakfast Show co-host host Dave Berry, Simon said:'The thing about Louis is that, we fired him before, well actually I didn’t fire him, somebody else fired him, but he was fired and I missed him so I got him back, but I think this time we have something lined up for him in Ireland.'
When asked about One Direction, he told Dave: 'I know Louis wants to be an A&,R guy, run a label, he was always going to be good at that. I haven’t gone into too much detail with the others.'
My beard looks scruffy
Cheryl added: 'Liam is a really good song writer, he wrote a track on my last album, so I think you’ll see different things from all of them.'
Meanwhile, Fernandez-Versini admitted on the red carpet she is busy preparing herself not to get too emotional during the Judges' Houses stages now that they will be broadcast live.
She said: 'This is when I have to take previous experience into control. I'm going to try and set emotions aside and be fair on the people that are going through. Rather than worrying about how horrible it is for me!'
Creature of habit: He is a creature of habit when it comes to his appearance, rarely deviating from wearing baggy T-shirts with jeans
Back to work with a new look: The usually clean cut star sported dark facial hair streaked with grey at the Picturehouse Central Cinema in London
Meanwhile, Simon has already shaken up the judging panel ahead of the 12th series of X Factor.
But the ITV show recently revealed some major twists for the show which will search for the next big music star from August 29.
Cowell and co have given the audition stages a complete makeover, with more viewer interaction and the chance for fans to make one of the major decisions of the show - which judge gets which category.
The show has signed up new judges Rita and Nick to sit alongside Cowell and returnee Cheryl while Caroline Flack and Olly Murs have taken over from Dermot O'Leary as hosts.
It's not just Simon having a makeover: Cowell and co have given the audition stages a complete makeover, with more viewer interaction and the chance for fans to decide which judge gets which category
Invigorated: Simon explained that sticking to just the arena try-outs has instantly reinvigorated the show
It's all change: The rules have also been relaxed for the constants' auditions, with dancers and props permitted for the first time
Simon explained that sticking to just the arena try-outs has instantly reinvigorated the show. 'There's a different energy this year,' he says. 'I can't explain it. I have felt relaxed and I think getting out of those small rooms made a big difference, I don't like those little auditions, they drive me nuts. The crowd have had an incredible energy this year, which has helped.'
The rules have also been relaxed for the constants' auditions, with dancers and props permitted for the first time. 'We basically said to ourselves that we shouldn't apply any rules to the auditions,' Simon explained.
'If they want dancers, this or that, dogs, cats - well, I don't care about cats - but you can do what you want. A couple of auditions I have sat there and thought how I have never seen anything like it on this show. They have really put the effort in, I think it's made the show better.'
Bloomin' gorgeous: Cheryl Fernandez-Versini looked stunning in a tiny floral dress for the X Factor press launch on Wednesday night at Picturehouse in London
Take the plunge in Cheryl',s Balmain poppy print dress
Balmain floral-print velvet mini dress
X Factor is set to hit our screens in just a matter of days, and we don’t know about you but here at Fashion Finder we’re super excited to see Cheryl and Rita go head to head in the styles stakes.
For the series launch in London Cheryl most definitely stole the show, wearing a statement plunge poppy print mini dress by Balmain teamed with Giuseppe Zanotti gold sandals.
Spotted on the runways at Chanel, Celine and Balmain, pretty poppy print should be on your radar for this season and next.
Cheryl’s dress is part of Balmain’s Pre-Fall collection and is available to buy at Net-a-Porter- simply follow the link on the right to get your hands on it now, then complete the look with Cheryl’s exact shoes (click below).
But if you’re more budget than Balmain, check out our edit of more affordable poppy prints in the carousel below with picks from Motel, Warehouse, L.K. Bennett and Jonathan Saunders.
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Giuseppe Zanotti Shooting Platinum Three Strap Sandals at Moda Operandi
Motel Himawa Kimono Sleeve Dress in Poppy Seed
Jonathan Saunders Reesha poppy-print satin dress at MATCHESFAHSION.COM
Warehouse abstract poppy belted dress
L.K. Bennett Lasana Printed Dress
One for the fans: The brunette gave a happy wave to the fans as she strutted on the red carpet
Glamorous: The glossy brunette certainly seemed to be in her element
If they win over the judges and the arena, the successful acts will then progress through to Boot Camp, which this year kicks off in a grand country house.
Then comes the exciting part, for the first time ever the public will decide which judge gets which category – the Boys, the Girls, the Overs and the Groups - in a live vote via hashtags (and individual emojis for each judge) on Twitter, which will open during the first episode on Saturday 29th August, and close at 12:00pm on Tuesday 1st September.
The four judges will then be informed of the public's decision during filming of the six-chair challenge at the SSE Arena, Wembley, which will whittle down the acts for Judges' Houses.
Picture perfect: A smiley Cheryl looked picture perfect from all angles
Smiley: Posing inside, the brunette showed off her angular shape with confidence
Elegant: She maintained excellent poise with strappy gold heels on, elongating her legs
This year the Judges' Houses stage will be broadcast live from four stunning international locations, with each performance shown as well as the judges difficult deliberations with their guest celeb.
While Simon and his team have worked hard on their revamped format, Cheryl has admitted she had her own plans for how the show could mix things up.
'I had an idea to change up the categories so that we have one of each,' the long-term judge explains. 'I think that makes it far more competitive, far more of a challenge for the mentors and more of an open competition because, for example, Simon might get the best group, Rita the best boy, I might have the best over and Nick the best girl.'
Growing a beard looks scruffy
Giddy: Caroline Flack and new co-host Olly Murs made a great match on Wednesday
The new boy: Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw seemed a little uncomfortable to be making his X Factor debut
The new duo in town: Melvin Odoom and Rochelle Humes are Xtra Factor's new duo
Cute twosome: Caroline and Olly shared a giggle on the red carpet
Laugh a minute: The duo proved there's going to be plenty of giggles this year
Cute duo: The close friends seem like they're going to bring some serious fun to proceedings this year
'People will be like, 'Who on earth is going to win?' Sometimes you get a strong category and it's obvious it's going to be one of those - if you mix it and we have got talent across every board, then it's going to be wide open and no one's going to be able to guess who's going to win.'
Simon though reckons Cheryl is just keen to ensure her third win on the show: 'Cheryl is obsessed with these categories. Do you know why? She's terrified she's going to get stuck with one category and someone else is going to get a better one. She's so competitive, which doesn't work with me anymore by the way,' the show's head honcho says.
'What used to happen is someone great would come on and then the eyes, which are big anyway, suddenly turn into saucers and she looks at me like, 'Simon, I really like them...', but I'm like, 'Yeah, but you're not having them this time!'. She really is competitive, it's why she's so good on the show, win, she wants to win.'
The X Factor returns to ITV1 on Saturday, August 29.
Adding some character: The brunette added some character to a simple black dress with a leopard print coat
Time for the fans: Caroline was seen spending time with some of her fans outside the BBC earlier that day
Making Marvin proud: Leggy Rochelle looked ultra-glamorous on the red carpet, no doubt making her husband proud
A warm welcome: The radio DJ is new to the X Factor thing this year
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