X Factor boss Simon Cowell has said co-star Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is a better judge for being away from the show for a few years.
He said Cheryl made a good team with fellow judge - and former Spice Girl - Mel B.
Speaking at the launch of the new series in central London, Cowell said: "They are very good judges and I think they've got better - certainly Cheryl has got better and knows what she's talking about, knows what she's looking for so for me it was a help."
The Geordie star kept it simple at the launch in a plain black dress after Cowell criticised the "crazy" outfit she wore during her ill-fated stint in the US show.
The former Girls Aloud singer said she had matured since her early years on the show.
She said: "I 've grown up I was 24 when I did the first X Factor series and I'm 31 this year so I've grown."