Simon Cowell made a savage dig at Louis Walsh during the opening episode of The X Factor : The Band
The Irish pop wizard was axed from the show for a third time – with the panel featuring just two judges for the first time ever.
Nicole Scherzinger joined Simon Cowell for his brand new X Factor format, which saw thousands of hopefuls auditioning in his office at Sony HQ in a bid to find fame in a new girl or boyband.
Viewers were annoyed that Louis, who narrowly avoided the chop in 2007 but was replaced in 2015 and 2018, was missing once again.
To make matters even worse, Simon could no resist having a pop at Louis' age during one audition.
Singer Will Pike, 18, revealed that he regularly performs gigs at nursing homes at the weekends.
Simon said: "That's nice. Have you met Louis Walsh?"
Giggling Will, who saw the funny side, replied: "No I’ve never met Louis Walsh."
X Factor viewers took to Twitter after noticing that Louis was missing from the judging panel.
One fan said: "I can’t help but think we need Louis Walsh… if there is one thing that Louis knows it’s boy bands!!!"
"Find it funny how Louis Walsh, who has one of the most successful boybands under his management & has managed multiple bands successfully, was snubbed from judging this show," added another.
A third said: "I’m guessing Louis Walsh isn’t cutting edge enough to help judge on this show"
"Louis Walsh is hiding behind that sofa in Cowell’s office," said a fourth.
X Factor: The Band went back to basics in the music business as the hopefuls auditioned in front of Simon and Nicole.
They were joined by a panel of advisers including Naughty Boy – who has worked with stars including Beyonce ; multi-platinum selling song-writer Carla Williams and Grammy-winning producers Lil’ Eddie and Fred Ball.
Those who make it through this stage then face the next big challenge – arena auditions in front of thousands in Birmingham.
*The X Factor: The Band continues on Wednesday December 11 and Friday December 13, both at 8.30pm.
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