A preview of Season 2 with 'X Factor' judges Demi Lovato and Simon Cowell
With the Season 2 premiere of “The X Factor” looming, “The X Factor” judges Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato discuss everything from their fellow judges L.A. Reid and Britney Spears, to this year’s new crop of talent to hints about who might be hosting the second season of the hit show.
“The X Factor” premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV and continues on Thursday Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV Two.
You have yet to announce who the host or hosts are going to be. Are you ready to make an announcement yet?
Simon Cowell: Not yet, no. We’ve screen-tested a load of people, but the audition shows don’t have any hosts. We’ve got about three or four weeks, but I think we’re going to make a decision in about the next seven days. My gut feeling is we’ll probably go with a boy and a girl who haven’t had any hosting experience because I think that might make it more interesting.
There is so much talking on these shows now. We’ve worked out—it’s something like 11 or 12 minutes over a two-hour show. It’s just too boring, as Ryan demonstrated, for one person just to say everything. I think you’ve got to mix it up a little bit. The idea is—and then you’ve got to find people with good chemistry as well. I kind of know what we’re looking for, but that’s why we’ve screen-tested some people.
Demi, how in your judging, have you been careful not to cross that border into bullying territory when giving people some negative comments?
Demi Lovato: I think bullying is something that’s totally different than criticism. Bullying, I think, can be when you’re just . . . harsh really for no reason. I feel when you’re giving criticism, you’re only trying to help somebody with their performance or their voice or whatever. I think definitely there could be a fine line between some jokes, but for me, ultimately, I’m just having fun and trying to give them criticism.
What do you think of the other two judges, L.A. Reid and Britney Spears?
Demi Lovato: L.A. and Britney are so amazing. I feel like they are doing just a great job, especially Britney. I feel like the world hasn’t really gotten a chance to see her personality over the past couple of years and now this is the perfect opportunity for people to really see the light inside of her just shine. She’s very witty and funny and quirky and I just have such a good time working with her. L.A. is so much fun to work with, so much funner than Simon, and we just have connection.
Simon Cowell: I think Britney is a fascinating person because you just don’t know anything about her. She’s very unpredictable. You never know what’s going to happen. She has taken this very seriously and she’s surprisingly quite mean. In the past we’ve had judges who never say no. She can’t say no quick enough on this show. She’s quite difficult to please. But she’s a fascinating person and I’ve gotten to like her a lot.
L.A. is on the panel because, like me, we are two of the biggest hit makers in the world right now. As important as it is to have artists on the panel, you’ve got to have people who are currently having a hit record; otherwise it’s impossible to judge these shows. I feel very secure with L.A. But he’s . . . me this year because last year he had Justin Bieber, this year I’ve got One Direction, so there is a lot of competition between the two of us. But it’s a very well-balanced panel, I think.
Do you think you found a marketable star in the auditions?
Simon Cowell: There are a lot of good people who came on the show this year. There is no question or doubt when you offer $5 million as a prize, you get a lot of good people. Interestingly, although they were weak last year, I think the groups are very strong this year, and particularly, the 12 to 17-year-old contestants. They’re like a whole new breed who actually haven’t even been brought up on these talent shows before. They’ve been influenced by what they see on YouTube, social networking, and stuff like that. They’ve brought something very interesting to the show. It’s very, very competitive this year. Right from the get-go, you’re going to see some amazing people in the first episode.
What do you think the artist has to do to step out of that TV box and become a legitimate artist in the eyes of the music-buying public?
Simon Cowell: I think you’ve got to work hard. You’ve got to have that killer instinct. You’ve got to be marketable. You’ve got to prove to record producers and songwriters that you deserve to have the best material, and you’ve got to use the show as a launch pad and acknowledge the show and the part that it played.
Demi Lovato: I think you have to go through so much to be able to make it to where you are. You have to make a lot of sacrifices. You have to be willing to not get a lot of sleep and to have to choose – like I said, make some sacrifices and work very, very, very hard. I’m thankful for where I am today, but I think a part of this competition is . . . that (as mentors) we have to make the artist in the competition realize that it’s not just about getting on stage and who has the best voice and who has the best performance. It’s about making a pop star, and ultimately, signing someone who has what it takes performance-wise and also drive-wise.
Are we going to see more of the mentoring process on screen?
Simon Cowell: Definitely. A lot of what we did was off-camera. I think the mentoring process, how we actually work with the artists – how they interact with each other, where they’re staying – is an important part of this show. Like I said, it’s easier to watch it than it is for me to explain it, but you will see a marked difference to anything we’ve never done before. I think all that process has to be shown.