Simon Cowell hung out on a yacht in St. Tropez yesterday in a pair of pale pink swim trunks. The former American Idol judge frequently vacations in the French Riviera, and is enjoying some rare time off as he gears up for the stateside launch of The X Factor this Fall. The reality competition debuts in the USA in September, and Simon will reunite with Paula Abdul on the series. A promo for The X-Factor was released in mid-July, in which Simon pokes some fun at AI and puts up with a big kiss from Paula. L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger will round out the judging panel, and Simon's European getaway is likely close to its end, as the foursome are all expected in Beverly Hills on Friday for a TCA presentation on their new venture.
Simon Cowell's forthcoming American version of The X Factor may be an American Idol reunion of sorts. Cowell has stated that Paula Abdul is likely to host The X Factor, along with himself and Island Def Jam Music chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid. Cowell also hinted that while nothing's official yet, British songstress Cheryl Cole is likely to join the panel as well.
Cowell did a fair amount of gushing about Abdul, saying that the duo had great chemistry on Idol and he's looking to re-create that. Though Abdul wasn't my favorite judge of all time, it's a smart promotional move for Cowell to get Idol viewers into The X Factor, especially in light of a recent backlash toward the Idol judges' panel. The X Factor doesn't launch until the Fall, but are you excited about the possibility of seeing Simon and Paula spar once again?
Simon Cowell is ready for the Justin Bieber effect to hit The X Factor. We chatted with Simon on the phone this week, and he talked about the current critcism of American Idol judges, what's the status of his judge search, and what he's looking for in a host. While Simon has yet to get involved with the audition process, there's apparently a huge amount of talent in the younger set. Simon credits the popularity of teen sensations like Bieber and YouTube stars for the fresh crop of talent. As for whether or not America will vote for the younger contestants, Simon puts his faith in the viewers — especially since the mentoring aspect of The X Factor will hopefully rule out the terrible song choice that doom promising singers on Idol. Here's what Simon had to say:
Buzz: Have you seen or heard about any promising auditions so far?
Simon Cowell: I keep a distance while they're doing the open calls, so the producers and the guys from Sony get to see everyone. They fill me in on a day-by-day basis, but they're excited. Where they're seeing an awful lot of talent is in the 12-16 range, which we were nervous about, but apparently they're seeing some really really good people in that category. So fingers crossed, I think we're gonna get a good crop.
Buzz: Do you think the younger contestants stand out because they are especially eager or because of pop stars like Justin Bieber who are so popular right now?
SC: I think it's got a lot to do with the latter, yes. I think with the success of Justin it's encouraged people to come along and audition. I also think that they haven't grown up on these shows, they've been more influenced by YouTube or the Internet than they have talent shows. They've worked out how to be themselves, how to be original, how not to become too old fashioned. When I was auditioning on Idol 10 years ago, I used to have kids come along at 15 and sing "On The Good Ship Lollipop," just terrible songs their mom and dad had made them sing. Now they're completely different, they've worked out for themselves who they want to be what they want to sound like. That's why we lowered the age range. I'm optimistic we're going to find someone good in this age range.
Buzz: With the popularity of young stars, do you think the American audiences will skew toward a younger winner?
SC: Maybe. I've always trusted the American public that they do make the right decisions. Where it's gone wrong in the past is when contestants make crazy song choices. On this show, the judges get to mentor three finalists each, so hopefully you don't have the same level of mistakes. I think you find a great 16 or 17-year-old guy or girl they're going to be tough to beat, but talent will always win in the end. I've always been convinced of that.
Buzz: What do you think sets The X Factor apart from the other competition shows out there?
SC: I've gotta be honest with you, it starts and finishes with who the contestants are. That's why we're doing a lot of press and stuff at the moment, to get the word out, because if everyone turns up boring and useless, you just don't have a show. I know what the scale of this show can be like, but we've also got to try and attract a new generation of contestants who aren't the same as you've seen in the past where they all talk the same and behave the same. You want people who can act their age, who are ambitious, who are entertaining, argumentative. That's really what makes the show, so you've gotta be really broad-minded about your attitude and who you put on the panel with you.
Simon Cowell Talks X Factor Judge Rumors, Idol Judges, and Why His New Show Will Be More "Fun" Than Idol
Simon Cowell is gearing up to take over the world of reality TV yet again this Fall when he brings The X Factor to the States — amid rumors that he's dropping out of the UK version. Auditions have already kicked off in LA — and booths around the country for contestants who can't make it to big cities —with New Jersey coming up this week. Simon says the stateside series will be more "fun" than American Idol; although, he admits that he hasn't been keeping up with the Idol drama. Simon isn't ready to announce who will be joining him and L.A. Ried at the judges' table, but everyone from Jessica Simpson to Fergie to Gloria Estefan are apparently still in the running. He says he'd happily hire any of them and discussed the qualities that make for good hosts, contestants, and judges on these huge-scale talent shows. Check out our chat, and stay tuned for part two — when he describes why Justin Bieber is responsible for some of the best performers they've seen so far:
Buzz: How are auditions going for The X Factor?
Simon Cowell: By all accounts, really, really well, actually. Big numbers, lots of talent, coupled with a lot of crazy people, which I like. So all things that will make a good show, I hope.
Buzz: What are you looking for in a host?
SC: I think somebody who likes the fact they're making live TV, isn't afraid of things going wrong, isn't afraid to stick up for the contestants or argue with us, and who's fun to be with. And doesn't behave like a normal host.
There are lots of rumors going around about the judges. Is there anyone you would be particularly excited to get?
SC: Everyone who I've met, I've kind of wanted on the show, which is why it's difficult to make our minds up at the moment. I'd hire everyone. They really have been great fun, and every day we get approached by somebody new. It's really difficult when you're in that position to know who to hire. We just got to give it some time, meet everyone, and then try to come to a decision.
Buzz: Some fans are saying that the American Idol judges are all too nice this year, do you think there's anything to that?
SC: It's difficult. When I was on the show, everybody said we were too mean and now everyone's saying [the judges] are too nice. For me it's a good thing, because I was always concerned that the two shows were going to be similar, and they are very, very different shows. [The AI team] seems very happy with it, and hopefully people will like the difference in our show when it comes on. Because it really will be different.
To read more of what Simon had to say about what makes a good judge, and why The X Factor is more "fun" than Idol just read more
This morning on The View, Jennifer Hudson talks about this season of American Idol and the perception that the judges are being too nice. She says that Simon Cowell was a good example of how the music business can treat you, and that she prefers notes and constructive criticism to nonstop praise. We also get a look at her new movie Winnie, about the life of Winnie Mandela, set to be released in September.
Kate Moss hit the town in London last night to celebrate the birthday of her Topshop boss, Philip Green, at the private dining club Mosimann's with other British stars like Simon Cowell and the soprano Katherine Jenkins. Not content to finish the toasting at dinner, Kate moved on to end the evening at Whiskey Mist with Philip's daughter Chloe. Kate has been enjoying a social week at various bashes with her pals, but she's got a big event of her own to plan with her wedding to Jamie Hince coming up later this year. Kate's apparently planning one initial shindig to coincide with the Isle of Wight music festival in June, and she's already commissioned a designer to make her an enormous pink dress.
Simon Cowell stopped off to chat with his good friend Piers Morgan in an interview that airs on Monday. The former American Idol star is currently preparing for the Fall release of his new show, The X Factor, with judge rumors all over ranging from Jessica Simpson to Mariah Carey. Simon spoke about his former gig, which narrowed the field down to 12 last night, saying that the new fresh faces and formula are already a winning combination. He said, "They've got their energy back, and their confidence." So what do you think, is AI better this season?
Simon Cowell looked like he didn't have a care in the world amid rumored women drama as he caught some rays on the deck of a yacht off the coast of St. Barts yesterday. This January is a lot different than the past nine years, during which he was deep in the thick of promoting and preparing for the upcoming seasons of American Idol. As Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson are less than two weeks away from debuting their revamped version of the hit show, Simon has been enjoying an extended shirtless vacation. We're a little worried about the future of AI, though Simon is currently focused on The X Factor, which just landed a huge Pepsi sponsorship for the reality competition's stateside launch in the Fall.