Simon Cowell scoop: The 'X Factor' star talks L.A. Reid, Paula Abdul...and Rebecca Black


Image Credit: Ian Derry/Fox; Kevin Mazur/

On the heels of today’s announcement that music mogul Antonio “L.A.” Reid has signed on as a judge on the U.S. version of Fox’s upcoming talent-show series The X Factor, the show’s creator/star Simon Cowell is talking about how the high-profile hiring came about. “Taking it back to basics, since we were making the point that the whole idea of the show is that we’re trying to find a star, my first thought was, I’ve got to have the No. 1 hit maker in the world on the show,” Cowell tells EW. “And L.A. was the obvious choice. This went to the wire, to be honest with you, because Universal were keen to keep him. But once he’d made up his mind he wanted to be on the show, then it all happened quite quickly in the last week.”

Cowell also let slip that one (and perhaps two) of the show’s female judges could be announced on Monday. “Right now, there’s one person who we have a financial deal with, but now we have some issues over their dates,” he says. While talking about the vibe of The X Factor, he interestingly brought up his former American Idol table-mate Paula Abdul. “I’m not saying that Paula’s definitely got the gig, because we don’t know what’s going to happen,” he says, “but part of the fun of Idol when it first started was that it didn’t take itself too seriously.”

And of course, we couldn’t let Cowell go without asking if he’s experienced the ear-splitting web sensation that is the video for Rebecca Black’s much-derided “Friday.” Thankfully, he has. “Love it!” says Cowell, who, it should be noted, made a career out of releasing novelty singles by the likes of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the ’90s. “I’ve never seen anything cause so much controversy. I think it’s genius. The fact that everyone’s getting upset about it is hysterical. Any song to do with the weekend annoys you. It reminds me of ‘Saturday Night,’ do you remember that [1994] song by Whigfield? It’s what we call a ‘hair-dryer song,’ a song girls sing into their hair dryers as they’re getting ready to go out. But the fact that it’s making people so angry is brilliant.”

Check back at next week for more of our interview with Cowell.

Read more:
Official: L.A. Reid signed as ‘X Factor’ judge
Island Def Jam executive L.A. Reid officially resigns: Read his letter to the staff here
Simon Cowell’s ‘X Factor’ judges list: Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey, and others discussed
Simon Cowell announces ‘The X Factor’ audition dates, explains how to win $5 million recording contract
‘The X Factor’: Register to audition right now
‘X Factor’ hopefuls competing for $5 million prize

Comments (46 total) Add your comment
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  • Kraig Karson

    the song is not making anybody upset. it’s the media overhyping this forced/non-controversy. people are non-plussed by this. Boredom

    • Ronald

      non-plussed means you’re so shocked, you can’t even speak. It’s the exact opposite of apathy.

      • Green

        You don’t have to be shocked into not speaking. It can just mean at a loss for words.

      • Andrew Morenski

        chalk one up in the small victories category Ronald.

    • Nobody Knows Anything

      You’re incorrect, Kraig.

      • Andrew Morenski

        Step outside your entertainment bubble. The average person with a full-time job outside the industry does not care/has no knowledge of this video. Web clutter galore.

      • Aly

        Tell that to all the kids threatening her on twitter. It’s not the average working adult that’s the problem, it’s the kids with unlimited web access.

    • Aly

      So why is twitter clogged up with death threats against the poor girl? Yes, death threats. Over a song that she probably never anticipated getting a bunch of hits on youtube. Also, if you don’t care why did you even bother to comment? Me thinks someone doth protest too much.

      • Andrew Morenski

        that’s right. All these internet rumors are valid. The news always tells the truth and never overhypes anything. Very insightful

    • TM

      LOL! Attempt to use important sounding vocabulary not going so well. I’m so non-plussed!

      • Andrew Morenski

        LOL is very groundbreaking. Whatever makes your cyberego feel better, big boy.

  • Lol


    • Fantasm

      And the internet produces yet another brilliant bon mot. lol indeed.

  • Mike

    Cmon Cheryl Cole

    • Z

      Love her, but Girls Aloud needs to come first.

  • mangagirl

    Since I’m so over American Idol, when is X Factor to start? L.A. Reid good choice with strong credentials and experience looking forward to see who his judging partner will be…please NOT Paula Abdul, need someone fresh.

    • Liz

      There will be two female judges, but I guarantee that one of them will be Paula – and she will be sitting right next to Simon. But in her defense, she has changed a lot since she left Idol. She pretty much has it together now..just my opinion of course. But Simon loves him some Paula, so she’ll be there without a doubt.

    • mangagirl

      I looked it up it’s supposed to premiere September 2011 and still I don’t want to see Paula Abdul, sorry Liz.

    • Delon

      Paula is the absolute perfect choice for the format of The X Factor. TXF is all about big stage productions with lots of dancing. Who else is out there to better mentor contestants in that aspect than Paula? As we witnessed with Live to Dance she is the perfect coach and mentor. She genuinely cares and puts in the time and effort.

  • lol@Kraig

    Kraig, you make Simon’s point. Out of this entire article that hints that Paula could be joining Simon on the X Factor, you chose instead to comment over a youtube song! The media is now overhyping it in hopes that YOU will show up to comment about it being overhyped!

    • Kraig Karson

      yikes. that’ weak. try again Sally

      • Pillow Pants

        No they pretty much hit the nail over the head…not only did you comment the first time, you’re lurking to see who responds so you can reiterate how much you don’t care. Idiot.

      • Andrew Morenski

        who’s lurking while using Cliche’s like “hit the nail on the head” Good one Pillow Pants. Very brave.

      • Dave Robison

        Who’s the idiot? Somebody who’s a coward and used fake names online. I admire you

    • Dave Robison

      You just agreed with Simon. Chalk up Idolatry to your list.

  • Elle

    Good. Then I’ll sing it for The X Factor audition next weekend. I’ll do a very emotional version.

    • Cat

      Do it!!

  • Courtney

    We want Paula!

    • storm

      Yes i like Paula abdul too.

      • homa

        ONLYYYYYYYY PAULA ABDUL!!!bring her back!!!wanna see u both workin together again..

  • MattS

    Did anyone watch Live to Dance on CBS? I love Paula Abdul, but it was excruciatingly painful to watch her review and judge the performances. She has trouble speaking in complete sentences. Seriously. I do hope she gets the gig, but that she remembers how to communicate before the show goes live…

    • Liz

      Did YOU watch Live to Dance? Totally new Paula on there. In fact people were commenting that Paula had it together too much, and wanted the crazy old Paula back. And she spoke just fine. Think you are just repeating the same old crap that always gets said about Paula. Give her a break PLEASE.

  • Lee

    I hope the remaining female judges are Paula, Mariah or Janet, any one of those three.

  • Dianna

    LOVE Paula and think she wud bring a great deal to the show!

  • Chabner

    I love Simon Cowell

  • Sue

    I hope the female judges are Paula and then one of the following Mariah, Janet, Jessica, or Shania. Cheryl and Nicole haven’t had enough success or famous enough in the US to be on the panel.

  • Jason S.

    Why not the biggest star in music who proved she was a good judge on Idol: Katy Perry deserves the gig for her knockers alone!!!

    • Pillow Pants

      I think she’s a little busy seeing as how she actually still has a career.

  • Thais

    I like Paula but I don’t wanna see her on the X-Factor…

  • Lisa Simpson

    I think Simon needs a dictionary with the words “genius” and “brilliant” in it.

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