TCA 2011: Simon Cowell hopeful 'X Factor' will be America's pick
“It looks like nothing else you’ve ever seen before.”
That’s the prevailing sentiment Simon Cowell kept drilling to reporters who attended the Television Critics Assn. Media tour in Beverly Hills. He was referring to Fox’s "The X Factor," which marks his return to TV judging following his departure as the curmudgeon judge on “American Idol” last year. Cowell, who also serves as an executive producer on the "The X Factor," was joined by fellow judges Paula Abdul, L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, host Steve Jones and the show’s producers.
“I wouldn’t have made the show unless I thought it was going to be different,” he said.
On the British import, solo singers as well as groups can compete. The age range is wider, with people as young as 12 eligible to compete -- something Cowell surely regrets: He says the younger contestants "are more lippy than any other contestants I've had in my life. I was quite traumatized." There’s a boot-camp phase where contestants are mentored by one of the judges. Then there’s the prizes: The winner receives a $5-million recording contract and, Fox announced Friday, a Pepsi commercial spot to air during the Super Bowl.
Pretty epic. Then again, Fox seems to have a lot riding on the series along with the network’s sci-fi effort “Terra Nova.” Buildup for “The X Factor” is big and controversy over the selection of judges has amplified that. When Fox president Kevin Reilly addressed reporters later in the day, he downplayed the expectations.
“If [‘The X Factor’] can do half of what we hope it can do in the fall, Fox will be something to reckon with,” he said.
Cowell, ever the cocky one, was more self-assured.
“You don’t do anything to get the silver medal,” he said. “You do it to be No. 1. In the next few weeks we’re going to do all we can to be the best show."
Photo: The faces of Fox's "The X Factor," from left: L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Steve Jones. Credit: Fox.