Simon Cowell blames other judges for 'X Factor' voting snafu
Fans expressed outrage after Nicole Scherzinger could not make up her mind on last week's results show, leading to a deadlock that ended with Rachel Crow being sent home. Under "X Factor" rules, judges are supposed to rescue the contestant in the bottom two who performs the better "save-me" song. Many viewers felt Crow's performance was superior to Marcus Canty's, but Scherzinger tearfully abstained, meaning that the result was decided purely by tallies from at-home voting. TMZ excavated a sound-enhanced clip that seemed to show Paula Abdul urging Scherzinger to go for the deadlock.
The whole outcome left Cowell perturbed at his fellow judges. "It was a just a cock-up," he told Show Tracker in a phone interview. "I don't think they did what they should have done, which is exactly what they were told to do: Vote on who sang the best in the sing-off. And then we got to that ridiculous place where they went to the deadlock."
Cowell of course has good reason to support Crow -- he was mentoring her on the show. The previous week, he stood onstage glaring at Scherzinger and Abdul after they elected to send home Drew Ryniewicz, another of Cowell's charges. (Scherzinger and Abdul reportedly received death threats.)
But Cowell dismissed the notion that "X Factor's" elimination process needs tweaking. "The whole idea was to try and prevent what I call the 'Jennifer Hudson Moment' -- where a really good singer screws up on one night," he said. "On this show you're supposed to give them a reprieve if they do better the following night ... I do stand by what I think is right for the format. Maybe I just need to explain it a bit clearer to everyone."
Cowell -- who as executive producer of "X Factor" hired the other judges and oversees the show -- and Scherzinger have become foils on air, and he admitted that the pop singer has irritated him "a little bit."
But he added: "You pay people to have an opinion .... I'd probably get more irritated if they didn't have an opinion.
"She gets very defensive," Cowell said. "But I'm not gonna criticize her for that. It's all part of the game."
-- Scott Collins
Photo: Rachel Crow, host Steve Jones and Marcus Canty on last week's "The X Factor." Credit: Ray Mickshaw / Fox