The many, many, many faces of Simon Cowell: As straight-talking X Factor judge leaves fans bemused with his radically different features, MailOnline looks back at his ever-varying visage
Not much has changed about The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent over the years; the usual mixture of hopeful contestants, straight-talking judges and tear-jerking backstories combined with the heady promise of potential fame and fortune has earned these failsafe formats millions of viewers – and a near permanent air of predictability.
If only the same could be said of their creator.
An otherwise straightforward appearance at this year’s pre-recorded Royal Variety performance on December 2 prompted more unwanted questions than answers, with many viewers left addressing the elephant Simon Cowell had inadvertently let into the room – namely, his radically different features.
Then and now: Simon Cowell in an early publicity photo from 2002 (L) and appearing on America’s Got Talent in 2022 (R)
The music mogul, now 63, surprised those in attendance – and those watching – with a remarkably smooth visage as he introduced Britain’s Got Talent Winner Axel Blake at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
More quizzical eyebrows were raised just days later, when Cowell’s face was curiously obscured by shadow as he eulogised about eight-year old son Eric during a remote appearance on ITV chat show Loose Women.
Once again, fans were prompted to question his vastly different visage – has he really changed? Or is it just our imagination?
Fear not, MailOnline has the answer. Join us as we cast a cautiously chronological look back at the many, many faces of Simon Cowell.
1985: Cowell’s dashing features turned plenty of heads during a night out with girlfriend Sinitta at London nightclub Legends
1987: The then little-known record producer looked youthful and fresh-faced in this TV appearance from the late eighties
1990: Cowell looks handsome while posing alongside his then girlfriend Sinitta, a constant in his life, at a London event
1999: Cowell, aged 40, with Ray Hedges and Kate Thornton while judging the This Morning Boy Band Competition
1994-2007: Cowell modelled a pair of circular spectacles at the BRIT Awards in 1994 (L), while the teeth appeared to be a little whiter in Britain’s Got Talent publicity photos from 2007 (R)
2001: Cowell looks suave on Pop Idol, a prototype for The X Factor and the show that helped establish him as a household name
2001-2003: The mogul developed a reputation for delivering caustic remarks to hapless guests on Pop Idol following its launch (left, on the Pop Idol panel in 2001 and right, attending the Love Actually film premiere in 2003)
Don’t mind me: The pose is similar but the face looks marginally different as Cowell poses for an X Factor publicity photo in 2005 (L) and at an American Idol party in 2006 (R)
2012: Cowell once again commands attention while attending Britain’s Got Talent auditions in London’s Hammersmith
2014-2019: Cowell’s gleaming teeth appear to have been straightened and whitened over the years (L-R at The X Factor in 2014 and enjoying a night out in 2019)
Say cheese: Cowell’s features have radically changed down the years (L-R attending American Idol auditions in 2008, at an NBC press day in 2018, and more recently at the Variety Club Showbusiness Awards in 2022)
2015: Career-smoker Cowell prepares to light up a cigarette as he leaves a private function in London
2015: The British star stepped out with some uncharacteristic facial hair just two months later while launching The X Factor in London
2021-22: Cowell appears to have lost weight over the last 12 months, while the lines that previously defined his features have been smoothed out (L-R at America’s Got Talent Extreme and more recently in a Britain’s Got Talent social media post)
2022: The music mogul raised eyebrows during his appearance at the Variety Club Showbusiness Awards in November, where he was accompanied by glamorous partner Lauren Silverman
2022: An otherwise straightforward appearance at this year’s pre-recorded Royal Variety performance on December 2 prompted more unwanted questions than answers
2022: More quizzical eyebrows were raised just days later, when Cowell’s face was curiously obscured by shadow as he eulogised about eight-year old son Eric during a remote appearance on ITV chat show Loose Women
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