Not exactly in hibernation during the summer, X Factor USA has been refuelling so to speak, as the show’s boot camp is getting into gear for the coming fall. On hand to drop hints about the continuing cross country expedition in search of untapped talent along with hosts Britney Spears and Demi Lovato this new season, was Simon Cowell. And not surprisingly in fighting form as usual, serving up brash wit and cutting one liners.
What made you choose Miami for boot camp?
SIMON COWELL: Girls! South Beach.
So how ready are you for the next season of X FACTOR?
SC: Oh, come on!
Nice makeup artist by the way.
SC: She’s cute, right?
Yes! So what is it that Britney brings and what does Demi bring to the show?
SC: Okay. both bring different things. Britney, I’m not going to lie about this. I always said the number one person I always wanted on one of these shows was Britney.
Because I was fascinated with her as a person. I was. And as a pop star. And there’s something intriguing about her.
I didn’t know her as a person, and I thought it would be interesting to have her on one of these shows. So you see another side of her. And she’s a really, really good judge.
And Demi, is a brat! But there’s something really likeable about her as well. And I think the show, because it has such a young audience, it needed someone younger. But Britney’s quite mean, which you’ll discover.
Maybe tough, not mean.
SC: Oh, come on.
SC: As sweet as a lemon!
Isn’t that mean?
SC: I’ve had it. Watch the show! But because I’m in my thirties, we needed someone a bit younger for the people who watch the show. And that’s what they both bring. And it’s worked brilliantly.
Talk about your relationship with Demi and Britney, whom you are agreeing with more, and whom you’re having a little bit more fun getting into arguments with on the panel.
SC: Well, as I promise, you will see this on the show. They are harder to please than me or L.A. They’re very, very happy, these two people, giving people ‘no.’
And they’ve definitely got their own opinions. But that’s why we hired them. I mean, I said this earlier on about Britney. The fact that she’s been successful for so many years is a testament to her star power.
And Demi, you know, I thought for the last couple years is one of the hottest new artists around at the moment. So I have to, unfortunately, agree with them some of the time.
They’re tough, but honest.
SC: That’s what I used to say. They are tough.
Those two ladies, they keep you on point.
SC: We keep them on point.
Did you ever consider bringing up the age group after Rachel Crow kind of had a meltdown?
SC: Not really.
It was very hard to watch.
SC: It was difficult, wasn’t it! That was the girl’s fault there, unfortunately. Because they could have saved her.
The whole point of the show is that you do have an opportunity to save people like Rachel. Unfortunately, it didn’t work that week.
But I don’t think that will happen again. And Rachel now, I mean, she’s grown up on the back of it. She’s having a great time.
And she’s done a lot of incredible things since leaving the show, so there’s no scars. But we are careful though, who we screen at that age.
What other reality shows, competition shows you’ve enjoyed?
SC: Don’t mention The Voice.
What about American Idol?
SC: In the beginning. Seasons 1 to 8 were good.
Talk about the hosts, will it be two people, a boy and a girl?
SC: That’s the plan, to have a boy and a girl. And ideally, I would like someone, we would all like. Someone who maybe hasn’t actually been a host before.
I think there’s a different role on this show going forward, as we’ve learned over the years making it. And Andrew and Rob are screen testing some people in.
And I think, that’s the next three to four weeks. So we should make an announcement, I’m guessing around about middle of August.
You mentioned Demi being a brat. The last person you described as a brat isn’t on the show anymore, and I was wondering how much job security do the judges on your show have?
SC: Not much. No one has any job security really anymore. Including myself! I mean, you know, you’re at the hands of the audience who watch the shows.
We’ve always made a point on these shows of changing the shows whenever we think it’s necessary. And for certain reasons we thought, even though the girls did a great job last year.
You know, we just felt we needed a change. And we were learning as we went along last year, but I don’t envision this changing for a while.
But we all seem to be getting along really well. The panel works. The girls seem happy. And I’ve got my buddy L.A. back. So we’re having a good time.
And what about the groups?
SC: In that regard luckily, the groups are better this year. Maybe it’s off the back of the year One Direction has had, and it’s just proven that groups can sell records all over the world.
There’s one group in particular who I really, really like. And I wouldn’t rule out if we felt it was necessary putting a group together.
We’ve literally just done the first hours of the boot camp session in Miami. You go through a lot of the dross, let me tell you, at this stage.
But somebody came on who I think, you’re going to be hearing a lot about this person, a huge, huge star. And they’re a country artist, and we haven’t had a good country singer yet on X FACTOR.
Simon, you had special guests in house, like Adele. Should we look forward to having maybe Justin Bieber or other special people in house to see the show?
SC: Maybe! I think so. I mean, what you’re going to see a lot of on this show going forward, is that we are making some changes editorially to the show. And the look of the show.
So it does feel different. Not just to last year, but against the competition. Because there’s an awful lot of competition we’ve got to fight against this year.
So this show will evolve, and a lot of it we make up, literally, on a daily basis. But I think you will be seeing some guest stars along the way.
Obviously at the home visit show, each of us will have somebody with us. Either from movies, or the music business who we’ll all know.
Do you feel the pressure to find a blockbuster artist on this show right now? And what does it say about the British shows that they get One Direction, or Britain’s Got Talent can produce a blockbuster star in a way that maybe the American shows haven’t quite yet done?
SC: That’s a good question. And the answer to your question is, yes, I do feel pressure to do it. And I put myself under pressure. We all do.
If I was making a show and I didn’t believe that we could find a worldwide-selling artist at the end of it, genuinely, I wouldn’t bother making this. I brought the show to America because I think the best singers in the world historically are American.
Britain’s got its fair share as well. But some of the greatest singers ever, whether you’re talking about Whitney or Mariah, Aretha Franklin, that’s the legacy here.
So I go into this, and I put myself under an awful lot of pressure. But what happens when I hear the emergence of a star, is the reason I make these shows.
And I think One Direction has proved that we’re back into a kind of pop market again. And I think it’s healthy for the recording industry. /Viva Press