Simon Cowell is notorious for his unsparingly blunt and often controversial criticisms about contestants and their singing abilities. Well, the saga continues as the music industry veteran gears up to launch the U.S. X-Factor, following his exit from where American knows him best; American Idol.
How will This U.S. X-Factor differ from American Idol?
I’ve described it as a next generation talent show. The basic rules are that you could be 12 years old or you could be 100 years old or you could be in a vocal group. I think the judging panel is going to be great, we confirmed L.A. Reid as our first judge and for the contestants that are entering it, you get a chance to be mentored by one of the judges in the final phases of the competition and last but not least if you win you get to walk away with $5 million cash.
That’s a lot of money
That’s a lot of cash
Will viewers see the raw Simon from a judging standpoint?
Oh God yeah, I’m going into this with an open mind and I’m going to be completely and utterly honest throughout the process. If people are great, their gonna get great feedback and if their not, I’m always gonna tell the truth. We made it clear to everybody on the show, it’s not a popularity competition for us, we’ve got to be a good judging panel and you’ve got to help me find a star because we’ve got a lot invested in this show.
As you say the word star, what qualities do you look for in an artist?
Exactly what I look for when I do my job running a record label, exactly what L.A. does. You try to find somebody who is different, who’s unique, who’s got their own voice and has the ability to compete with the Lady Gagas, the Adeles, the Justin Biebers, the Katy Perrys, the Beyonces; that’s what I hope is gonna happen. At the end of this, the only reason why we’re making this show is that we believe this process will help us find someone who’s got that potential and we are gonna do everything we can to try and make that happen.
Have those ideals changed over the years due to corporate pressures or changes in music and technology, etc?
Well I think our timing in a way Gary, has been good because I think what’s happened over the past 12 months, in my perspective, it feels like the old guards are being kicked away and the charts are being dominated by much smarter people. The artists seems to be more interesting, they’ve got their own identity and this show has to reflect what is happening in the world today, otherwise we’re gonna look like a dinosaur.
So on to you a little bit. I read somewhere where you said your quite odd, how so?
I think if you spend a week with me you would be saying the same thing and that’s why I ended up doing what I do for a living, you know, running a record label and being on these shows. It’s quite a strange occupation, you bump into a lot of crazy people and I actually like crazy people. When I was young, I didn’t want to do anything were I was gonna be bored and you know, this is a good job for me now.
Sounds good, by the way, I accept that one week challenge.
[Laughs] You may hate me afterwards Gary.
[Laughs] You come off as a ferocious competitor, were you always like that?
Oh Yeah and I think that anybody who says that there doing this to come second and is happy to come second, is a liar. I mean even when I used to play board games as a child or even now if I’m playing monopoly and someone’s got the better properties, I just take the boardwalk. I’ve always been like that and I think that’s what drives you and you’re not always gonna win but if you stop trying, it becomes boring for everyone. We went into this believing we could be number one and even if we don’t, at least we gave it a go.
So I understand a lot of Money is invested in this show, so how does your love for music or entertainment play its part?
I’ve really really enjoyed the last 18 months, watching what’s been happening in the UK and America. It’s become a fun time for me to be there and even when you watch videos now or the Grammys, artists are putting on much bigger shows and their being competitive with each other; trying to outdo each other. I think it has made it more fun and this is a good time to be making a show like this and I think it’s a good time to be back in the music business again. I feel optimistic now where I didn’t 3 years ago.
This is your opportunity to get the latest audition information for Simon Cowell’s brand new talent search The X-Factor with a prize of a $5 million recording contract. You must be at least 12 years of age by March 1, 2011, a legal U.S. citizen or eligible to work full time in the U.S., and without a current music recording contract. Information submitted will be shared with THE X FACTOR producers. CLICK HERE for more details.
—— By: Interview By Gary G.