Music mogul Simon Cowell has been branded vain and pathetic by his co-judge on UK TV talent contest The X Factor.

Louis Walsh, who launched the careers of Irish boyband Westlife, has blasted the acerbic AMERICAN IDOL star for his image-consciousness, and maintains the pair have never been close friends - despite Cowell's protestations to the contrary.

Walsh stormed out of The X Factor on Tuesday (22NOV05), citing bullying from TV colleagues Cowell and Sharon Osbourne. And he reveals he found Cowell's desperate apologies to attempt to persuade him to return to the show as false as his image.

He says, "Simon has so far sent me five grovelling text messages begging me to come back to the show.

"One text message read, 'I'm really sorry Louis, I consider you one of my closest friends.'

"I think Simon's very vain. He wears platform shoes, has spray tans, wears make-up and dyes his hair, all in an attempt to look younger.

"Simon also likes to do press ups before he goes on set."