X FACTOR: Celebrity was thrown into chaos by a colony of bats during filming – with the crew fearing for Simon Cowell’s dogs Squiddly and Diddly.
The ITV singing competition returns tonight with a host of famous faces singing for Simon and his fellow judges Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger.
Filming took place at Simon’s Los Angeles villa, but the stunning setting was marred by the arrival of a colony of bats.
Pop star Sinitta, who was at the filming to support her good pal Simon, told us: “They were swooping down like seagulls.
“I was worried they might take Simons dogs Squiddly and Diddly off in their beaks.
Meanwhile Louis, 66, joked the creatures were from former judge Sharon Osbourne’s house, which was nearby to where filming took place.
He said: “We ended up filming late into the night because of them. The joke was that it was all Sharon and Ozzy’s doing.
She lives in LA and isn’t on the panel anymore. We were saying she got Ozzy to send the bats over to disrupt the show.
While filming had to be halted to deal with the bat attack, they were eventually able to resume later in the day.
X Factor: Celebrity will feature 14 acts made of famous faces including former Towie star Megan McKenna, US chat show host Ricki Lake and a four-piece group of former Love Islanders.
Meanwhile, Louis joked at the press launch of the new series he had returned to the show as a judge because of the massive pay packet.
Louis and Nicole, 41, were sacked following the 2017 edition.
When asked how hard it was for Simon to convince them to come back after a two-year break, Louis admitted it actually didn’t take much.
He said: “He’s sacked me two or three times. I love doing the show, I love working with Nicole.
“I love working with Simon, and it’s like a whole new X Factor, it’s not like it was.”
Dermot then joked how Louis just “expects the call every couple of years” but he promptly reminded Dermot he too had once been axed from the show before making a triumphant return, saying: “Listen, you were gone too!”
But going back to his point about returning to the show, Louis added cheekily: “The show is great fun, and it pays!”
X Factor: Celebrity begins tonight on ITV at 8.35pm.