March 22, 2011

Pure US X Factor 1 – “It’ll take a lot to sit in that judge’s chair”, says Simon Cowell

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The Huffington Post has a great new interview up with Simon today. Simon doesn’t disclose much about his choice for new judges, but, he gives some hints for why it’s taking so long to decide as well as dishes on the show and a lot of the rumors.

Q: You haven’t announced the judges beyond LA Reid, but when you’re deciding on the judges, are you going for celebrity or are you going for someone who can maybe make a more honest assessment and help find the best star.
Cowell: First of all, you’ve got to trust the people you’re working with, and actually you’ve got to like the people, because you’re going to be working with them for a long time. It’s a difficult process because you want to have people who have different views, you want to have people on there who are fun to watch, people who aren’t afraid to argue with me or stand up for the contestants. So you’re trying to find everything, really. And what’s made this process a long, drawn out process is that a lot of keen people were keen to be on the show. So it makes the decision that much harder. Normally in the past, certainly on the shows we’ve done in the UK, we’ve kind of got the balance right. I was never interested in signing celebrities just for the sake of it, because I think that in the case of someone like LA Reid, even though a lot of people won’t know who he is, he is actually a fascinating guy and I think a lot of people will like the fact that they’re discovering him on the show.

Q: You had some people who maybe weren’t huge celebrities when they went to judge American Idol, so do you think your judges will become celebrities in their own right once they’re on the show?
Cowell: Yeah, I think someone like LA in particular. I’ve known the guy a long time, and every time I was in his company, I always found him fascinating and interesting, and I just liked spending time with him because he’s very knowledgable, and he just has a lot of charisma and I think America will find him interesting. So I was never a fan of thinking, I need to hire celebrities to bring in an audience, I wanted to put together a group of people who as a whole, people would want to watch, week after week.

Q: You said a lot of people were keen to be on the show. Who was interested?
Cowell: Mostly the names that are out there. The media have got it because our company leaks any information — if we meet anybody, the whole world knows about it. But I don’t have a problem with that. It’s been an interesting process, and one of the things that you have to take in account is that on this show, you are mentoring contestants at the end, when you’re choosing their material, what they’re going to wear, which choreographer they’re going to work with, and that takes up an awful amount of time and energy, and you’ve got to have that commitment. So you’ve got to take that into account as well. But at the end of the day, you trust your gut feeling to put together a panel that’s going to work, and the most important thing is, people will decide, once they watch the show, whether we’ve made the right decision or the wrong decision.

Q: You’re not only deciding judges; these judges are going to be awarding a $5 million contract. Why do you think your show will be able to beat out other shows to find the best talent? Will it be because of the judges? What about your show will be able to find the next big star?
Cowell: I think it’s partly, you get the word out, what are ou looking for, why you’re going to be different, what are you offering people when they win the competition and that’s why we put the $5 million up early to really say to people look, we really are taking this process seriously. And this is from a record company point of view, that what we want to find at the end is someone who can be a legitimate star in their own right and sell records all over the world. I actually believe that it’s possible, but you’ve got to find people who wouldn’t normally enter these type of shows, who’ve worked out themselves the kind of artist they want to be, and actually what they need more than anything else is exposure.

Full interview at The Huffington Post.

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