'I really disliked that man': Will Young on standing up to Simon Cowell

'I really disliked that man': Will Young on standing up to Simon Cowell

Will Young has recalled the moment he stood up to Simon Cowell after the talent show judge described his performance as “average” while competing on Pop Idol.

The Leave Right Now singer, 45, famously clashed with acid-tongued Cowell, 64, before going on to win the ITV show, along with a recording contract back in 2002.

Prior to this, he entered a This Morning competition in 1999 to find members for a new boy band which Cowell was also the judge for.

Appearing on podcast How to Fail with Elizabeth Day, the Wokingham-born star - who recently released new single Falling Deep - admitted he took an instant dislike to Cowell when he met him.

“I knew I was going to stand up to him.… I think I knew that I needed a moment because I thought if you get a moment then people will remember you.

“I also knew that I really disliked that man,” he recalled.

“I'd met him before on the This Morning boy band competition…and I remember thinking I really don't like that man, and I went to a school where I was surrounded by quite unpleasant men. So, my radar for people who I perceive as unpleasant is quite on.

Will Young went on to win Pop Idol in 2002 (PA)
Will Young went on to win Pop Idol in 2002 (PA)

“And I just want to be careful,” he continued. “I'm not saying that he's abusive, but my radar is pretty good. So my reaction was on live TV when I came across him.

“So it was, give myself a moment, but also I'm not going to stand, he needs to be put in his place. Because I had to sit and watch him make people cry for weeks, building up to my live performance in front of him.

“And I just thought, ‘no one's telling this man. Why is no one telling him?’ And so I was like, ‘I'm going to tell him’.

“I think people in the music industry, entertainment industry play on people's desire. Your desire is going to make you do anything.

“By that stage, I'd already had my first bout of depression. I'd lost someone close to me. I knew a bit of life. It wasn't the be all and end all. And so I didn't care about letting someone like him get away with it.

“Whereas I think lots of people in subsequent programs, I think there has been some awful behaviour actually, which is pretty well documented.”

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day is available wherever you get your podcasts.