Operatic boyband Il Divo insist The X Factor's notorious judge Simon Cowell was so enchanted when he discovered them, he ditched his trademark nastiness for them.

The 46-year-old music mogul is famed for his brutal honesty, but the classical singers claim Cowell simply had nothing to criticise when they crooned their way into his life.

Il Divo singer DAVID MILLER says, "My first impression of (Cowell) was that he's a really honest man.

"He says what he thinks and he doesn't hold back, especially for the TV show. Sometimes he's doing them a favour by being so brutally honest with them."

"He never spoke that way with us."