As the new series of the ITV talent show kicked off over the weekend, music mogul Simon admitted that he'd like to find another group like Steps, after watching teenage band Only The Young audition.
After giving Only The Young a pass through to the next round, Simon continued to praise the four piece once they left the room.
Simon told his fellow judges: "I actually would like to find another Steps... but just with better people in it."
Steps – made up of Claire, Faye Tozer, Lisa Scott-Lee, Ian 'H' Watkins and Lee Latchford-Evans – achieved a string of chart topping hits after being signed by Jive Records between 1997 and 2001.
"I'd like to find another Steps but with better people in it!!" What Simon!!!!! Maybe you should have signed us when you had the chance???!— Claire Richards (@_ClaireRichards) August 31, 2014
The pop sensations are known for their catchy songs like '5,6,7,8', 'Tragedy' and 'One for Sorrow'.
Steps reformed in 2011 for a new documentary where they released a greatest hits album and emabarked on a sellout UK tour. They took another break at the end of 2012 to pursue personal projects.
Taking to Twitter last night (31 August) during The X Factor episode, Claire said: "What Simon!!!!! Maybe you should have signed us when you had the chance???!"
Soon after, Ian retweeted Claire's response.
Many fans also commented on Simon's remark. One said: "That was so rude and disrespectful from him." Meanwhile, another commented: "Please, it was a bit of banter."
Also on the show, Big Reunion star Linzi Martin, who found fame in Girl Thing in the 90s, auditioned in front of the judges. Meanwhile, TOWIE star Jasmin Walia's audition was shown on Xtra Factor.
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Watch Only The Young audition below: