X FACTOR: Celebrity judge Simon Cowell mocked Nicole Scherzinger about her rumoured romance with Thom Evans after Try Star’s performance.
The ex-rugby ace, 34, and the show judge, 41, have been flirting behind-the-scenes and even enjoyed a dinner out with their friends.
But Simon and Louis Walsh took the opportunity to rib their fellow judge after she gushed over their performance.
Nicole said in the feedback: “That was the greatest way to open up tonight. Seriously, it’s the greatest show because you’ve got three rugby players who just happened to be true gentleman. Last week you were winning wet T-shirt competitions and this week you look a million bucks.”
To which Louis replies: “I agree. You like this act… a lot. I like the fact that you love them so much.”
“Invested. She is genuinely invested in the act,” Simon interjects.
Louis then says: “She genuinely cares about them Simon, which is what I like about them.”
After some genuine feedback, the pair start up again – leaving host Dermot O’Leary to intervene.
Simon said: “In all the years I’ve worked with Nicole, I’ve never seen
Louis: “She sees something in this act that we don’t see.”
Meanwhile, viewers were confused about Nicole’s choice of dress.
One person said: “My husband has just asked if Nicole climbed over a barbed wire fence on her way to the studio!”
Another added: “Nicole Scherzinger’s dress appears to be falling off.”
Nicole split from tennis player Grigor Dimitrov this year and has hit it off with Thom.
An ITV source said: “Thom is completely Nicole’s type. And for his part, Thom was smitten early on — he’s always said Nicole is one of the most beautiful women in the world.
“He fancied her long before meeting her on the show. He was initially a bit nervous about starting something up, and ruining his chances on the series, but they had great chemistry from the off.
“And after weeks of texting, Thom finally plucked up the courage to ask her out, and took her for dinner.
“They met up with friends, all had drinks, and were laughing and joking the whole night. They looked to be having the time of their lives.
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“They both want to focus on the series for now though, and then see what may or may not progress once the show has wrapped. But Nicole deserves to meet someone lovely and everyone is hopeful this will work out.”
News of their date came just 48 hours after Thom swore off sex, vowing to be single until the end of the series.
For movie week, Try Star sung The Greatest Show from The Greatest Showman soundtrack.