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Dermot O’Leary reveals he almost quit X Factor just weeks after Ant and Dec admitted crisis at BGT with Simon Cowell

IF you thought Ant and Dec were the only ballsy presenters to have taken Simon Cowell to task, think again. 

Dermot O’Leary has revealed he’s also had a pop.

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The X Factor host ­confronted his boss about his lack of screen time on the show when he returned as host after being sacked back in 2015.

Dermot explained: “I’ve had my state-of-the-union meeting with Cowell as well. You’re watching the show one day and going, ‘I’m not in any of this’.

“He does that great Simon thing where you walk into his house and you’re like, ‘Stick to the plan, say what you want to say,’ and then you sit down, you’re going through it and he goes, ‘Do you want some chicken pie?’

“And in your head, you’re like, ‘Actually, I really like chicken pie’.

“The most delicious chicken pie you’ve had in your life turns up and you have this thing and you go, ‘I don’t think I’m in the show enough.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, I totally agree. Yeah, ­absolutely.’ Then you go, ‘Great, now I can just have a great time,’ because he’s great company.”

Dermot’s admission comes after Ant and Dec said they had complained about feeling sidelined on Britain’s Got Talent.

The Geordie duo threatened to walk away in 2012 after the row — but just as with Dermot, charming Simon managed to sweet-talk them back around.

But the TV mogul was lucky to have pulled Dermot back from the brink, as his list of gripes exceeded Ant and Dec’s.

Back in 2011, Dermot made it clear he was upset about being snubbed by Simon when he wasn’t chosen to host The X Factor USA.

And after he was booted off the show five years ago, Dermot had a very public pop at Simon while hosting the National Television Awards, by telling the audience: “I’ve still got this job — for now.”

Simon later insisted Dermot being sacked was a “misunderstanding” and he was handed his job back the ­following year. And while Simon might not like being given what for, it turns out he does listen.

Speaking to fans while hosting an interactive talk for Ant and Dec’s auto- biography, Dermot added: “To be fair, he’s a man of his word. When it happened to me, I was in it more. And I felt more part of the team.

“He’s a great night out as well, terrific company. When you see that little sparkle and the gossip starts, he’s a world of fun. I just wish he wasn’t so late all the time.”

I’ve experienced Simon on a night out and can concur.

He’s a charmer — who is NEVER on time.

MAURA Higgins is a smooth operator – as she steps out in a silky silver top.

The Love Island beauty joined co-stars Joe ­garratt and Chris Taylor for dinner at celebrity haunt Sheesh, in Chigwell, Essex, on Sunday evening. 

Maura dressed up in a chic handkerchief top which she wore with ripped jeans and stiletto heels.

Earlier this month she denied she was ­dating Chris, following rumours they had started seeing one another, and insisted the pair were just “best friends”. 

It’s not hard to see why she might catch his eye.

THE Pet Shop Boys and KT Tunstall will play UK gigs for Passport: Back To Our Roots – a series of music events to raise cash for small venues hit by lockdown. Fans who make a £5 donation can enter to win a ticket at bit.ly/3mimT0Z.

FRESH Prince Of Bel-Air fans can do some “chilling out, maxing and relaxing all cool” at the show’s actual mansion.

Thirty years after the series first aired, Will Smith, who starred as a fictionalised version of himself in the hit comedy, and pal DJ Jazzy Jeff have teamed up with the owners of the posh California pad, which is now on Airbnb, to give fans the chance to stay there overnight.

Will, who is working on a reboot of the show, which ended in 1996, posted a picture outside the house with Jeff before sharing a link to the website where he revealed what is up for grabs.

He explained: “Ready for the freshest staycation ever?

“If this place looks familiar, that’s because it’s just as fly as it was when I first rolled up the driveway. I’m back.

“And this time, I’m handing you the keys so you’ll have my wing of the mansion all to yourself – but my sneaker collection is off limits.” Fans will also be able to hang out in the dining room and pool area and have access to Will’s bedroom and bathroom – all for just £25.

But it’s strictly first come, first served, with just five dates in October to pick from. 

Fans who miss  out will at least be pleased to hear the reboot of the show has already been commissioned for two seasons.

Will confirmed the news earlier this month, saying: “I’ve been in this business for 30 years and that does not happen. I’m hyped.”

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