Simon Cowell - Simon Cowell Congratulated Five After Arrests

Music mogul Simon Cowell urged his band Five to be the bad boys of pop, and even congratulated the stars when they were arrested after a bar brawl.

Cowell helped put the British boy band together in 1997 after the success of the Spice Girls, but he wanted them to stand out for all the wrong reasons.

Five stars J Brown and Ritchie Neville spent the night in jail back in 2000 after a drunken bust-up in Ireland and feared Cowell would be fuming, but it turned out he was thrilled with the publicity generated by their antics.

Neville recalls, "We were difficult, we were just difficult. Bordering on being a**eholes, actually. We were delinquents... We hit the pubs at like 10am and we caned it (partied hard), quite honestly. And then this guy started saying, 'You English come in here like you own the place!' Next thing I know, it's just kicked off, in a major major way.

"Then a phone call - Simon Cowell wants to speak to you. He's like, 'You can't buy publicity like this. You're on the front page of every newspaper. You're on the 9 o'clock news. This is worth millions of pounds - well done!' We were like, 'Oh! Sweet!'"

Bandmate Scott Robinson admits he was shocked by how much Five got away with, adding, "It didn't matter. Me and Abz (Love) burned a hotel room down in Ireland. It was only good. It was bad at the time - we had smoke inhalation and I thought I might die at one point. But in the paper, it was a great story: Five Burn Down A Hotel In Dublin."

Singer Sean Conlon adds, "Like Simon Cowell says, he wanted a band with edge. And that's what he got."

Five split in 2001, but returned this year (13) as a four-piece without Brown to take part in U.K. Tv show The Big Reunion.


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