Yeah, Simon Cowell is back on TV, and there are already some standout X Factor contestants. But who's that dashing host with the peculiar accent? He's 33-year-old Welshman Steve Jones, known in the U.K. for presenting the morning show T4 (and for a stint in 2009 as Hayden Panettiere's boyfriend). Yet behind Jones' easy charm lies an ambition that helped him score the X Factor gig over competitors like High School Musical star Corbin Bleu. ''The meetings I had at Fox, I said to them, 'The show you're talking about, the sheer scope and magnitude of it, you need a host,''' he says about his pitch to Fox's president of alternative entertainment Mike Darnell. ''I remember Mike saying, 'You would say that; you are a host.' And I was like, 'No, you misunderstand me. If it's not me, get yourself a host. You need a professional in there who knows what they're doing.''' Jones admits he's happier steering the show on his own rather than with initial cohost Nicole Scherzinger (who's now a judge instead). ''With two hosts it got a little bit messy occasionally,'' he says. ''If I'm being completely honest, I am happy to be the solo host of the show. I think it's a smoother process, it really is.'' Diplomacy and drive? His outlook seems more Seacrest than Dunkleman.