Louis Walsh tricked Simon Cowell into accepting Shane in Westlife

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UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 12:  Westlife With Louis Walsh (westlife Manager), Westlife Celebrated Their Guinness Book Of Records Entry For The Most Public Appearnces In 36 Hours By A Pop Group With A Party At Zuma Restaurant In London  (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Louis Walsh with Westlife. (Getty Images)

Louis Walsh has recalled how he tricked Simon Cowell into accepting Shane Filan in Westlife after the pair disagreed about whether or not he should be in the band.

Walsh, who managed Westlife and Boyzone before appearing on the X Factor and Pop Stars: The Rivals, told Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time Cowell was 'wrong' about Filan and he wanted to keep him in the band.

The group had come to Walsh as a six, who were all friends from the same part of Ireland. Having brought Cowell to Dublin to hear them sing, Walsh hoped they would be signed to his label but Cowell told him four of the boys needed to go.

"I changed three of them," Walsh remembered. "I couldn't change four of them, because they were all friends from Sligo. So I got rid of the three that I thought didn't have it.

And I said: "Shane. He didn't like you. So what we're going to do, we're going to change your look."

WATCH: Louis Walsh on X Factor fun, 90s pop music and working with Simon Cowell

They dyed his hair blonde and went out for more auditions, finding the final two members, Nicky Byrne and Brian McFadden.

When Cowell came back to watch them, Walsh remembered him saying 'I'm signing them' just a few minutes into the set.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Shane Filan of Westlife performs on stage during BBC2 Radio Live 2019 at Hyde Park on September 15, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Shane Filan of Westlife performs on stage, 2019. (Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Walsh remembered "A few weeks later he said to me: 'Where did you find the little blonde guy? He's really great.' I said: 'Simon, that's Shane, who you said no to.'"

He said he told Cowell he'd been wrong about him and the pair laughed about it.

Walsh told Thornton:"He wasn't always right, but he was brilliant to work with. He made everything happen for Westlife."

Listen to the full episode to hear what Louis misses about the 90s music scene, about the time he told Colin Farrell acting was a waste of time and why talent shows now are 'boring'

He also remembered taking the call from Filan's mum, before this time, who was a friend of his own mum from home.

Thornton had remembered Walsh from their time working together, including on X Factor, as someone who was always on the phone and had asked about calls that had changed the course of his career.

LONDON - DECEMBER 14: (from left to right) Kate Thornton, Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh pose with the award for Best Comedy Entertainment Programme for The X Factor at the British Comedy Awards 2005 at London Television Studios on December 14, 2005 in London, England. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
Kate Thornton, Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh with the award for Best Comedy Entertainment Programme for The X Factor at the British Comedy Awards 2005 (Getty Images)

He said Filan's mum called him up on a really busy day in the office about Westlife, who originally called themselves IOU.

"I was getting loads of calls from loads of people." he said. "But this woman, she'd call me up. She just caught me, and she sold me this band.

Read more: Louis Walsh told Colin Farrell he was 'wasting his time' with acting

"She told me all about her son Shane. And for some reason, I believed her, you know?"

He remembered her saying Filan danced like Michael Jackson, and when Thornton challenged him on this, Walsh said: "To her [he does]."

"I shouldn't have taken that call," Walsh said to Thornton. "It shouldn't have worked, but it did. And sometimes you take your chance in life. And I took a chance on that."

WATCH: Louis Walsh on Colin Farrell's audition for Boyzone