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'The X Factor': Simon Cowell on new judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato

, so I didn’t feel that this was someone just taking a check. In the auditions, she couldn’t care less about saying no to someone. Over time that shyness, which was there at the beginning, started to go away. We’ll find out how good she is or isn’t when we go into the live shows. Demi, to me, has been a revelation. She’s hilarious. It’s like having a bratty younger sister.” As long as they don’t suddenly turn wishy-washy in front of a live audience like Paula and Nicole (remember the Rachel Crow fiasco?), we’re more than willing to give them a chance.

Read more from Cowell in EW’s Fall TV Preview, on stands now.

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‘The X Factor’: Check out Britney Spears’ judging style in new promo video
‘The X Factor’ host update
‘The X Factor’: Special coverage

'The X Factor': Check out Britney Spears' judging style in new promo video

The X Factor is nearing its return to Fox, and it’s marching in to the tune of “…Baby One More Time.” Hey, if you were promoting new judge Britney Spears, you’d take every opportunity to use her ’90s hits in ads, too, right?

In a new promo for the sophomore season of the music competition show, Spears says in voiceover, “It’s really kind of hard to tell some people ‘no.’” Well, she must have not had too much difficulty bashing contestants lacking in sufficient talent. A second later she says, “I wanna know who let you on stage.”

Check out the Spears-centric promo below, including a moment that Simon Cowell didn’t hesitate to proclaim “awkward!” READ FULL STORY

Report: Britney Spears signs on to 'X Factor'

After months of speculation, pop star Britney Spears has reportedly signed on as a judge for the second season of The X Factor, according to E! Online.

Rumors have swirled about the singer joining the Fox singing competition, but today E! reports that Spears will be paid $15 million to join Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid on the judging panel for the show’s next season, set to premiere in early fall.

READ FULL STORY

Janet Jackson considering 'X Factor' gig?

Less than a week after X Factor creator/judge Simon Cowell admitted he had considered Whitney Houston for the show prior to her death, another diva has entered the fray. Reports have emerged that Janet Jackson may be taking one of the seats Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger vacated earlier this year. Jackson has neither issued a confirmation nor denial yet, but she is scheduled to appear on Monday’s episode of Anderson and, from the looks of a preview, doesn’t seem closed off to the possibility.

According to People, CNN, and Billboard, when host Anderson Cooper broached the subject, Jackson responded obliquely, “No, I am not [currently a judge on The X Factor], but that’s all I really think I should say.” Cooper had but one word: “Intriguing.” Sources close to the singer have told EW that Jackson would like to join the show as a judge, though they cannot confirm whether there is a deal in the works or currently in place.

Below, try to deconstruct Jackson’s coy giggle in the preview for Monday’s episode of Anderson. READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor' announces season 2 audition dates, now allows contestants with previous contracts

Fox announced today that auditions for season 2 of The X Factor will begin online March 1, with open-call auditions kicking off in Kansas City on March 14. The network also established a looser set of rules for the show’s sophomore edition, which will once again feature contestants competing for a $5 million recording contract. While the no-upper-age-limit policy stands, the bottom end of the age limit has been lowered to 12 years old after the success of big-voiced season 1 fan favorite Rachel Crow, 13. Also, artists with pre-existing management contracts (which is not to say a recording deal) are now eligible to compete. READ FULL STORY

Fox explains 'X Factor' shake-up, defends 'Idol' ratings -- EXCLUSIVE

The changes to Fox’s singing competition shows have only just begun.

After weeks of dramatic headlines about American Idol‘s slipping ratings and The X Factor‘s talent departures, Fox’s president of alternative entertainment Mike Darnell spoke to EW about the challenges faced by Idol and Factor — and his strategy for remaining on top. Given their large number of hours and consistent ability to win time periods, one could argue that Idol and Factor are the No. 1 network’s most important shows. So what does it mean when the bulk of the Factor cast abruptly gets pink-slipped and Idol has CBS’ Big Bang Theory nipping at its heels on Thursday nights?

With Factor, the sudden exodus of host Steve Jones, judge Nicole ‪Scherzinger‬ and executive producer Simon Cowell’s longtime TV-spouse Paula Abdul may have stunned observers (L.A. Reid will return). Yet the move was somewhat less surprising to followers of the U.K. version, which sheds judges every few seasons. In a genre where tough-love auditions are the heart of the format, Darnell described being a star on Factor‘s debut as not entirely dissimilar to being a contestant.

“Season 1 was basically an audition act,” said Darnell late last week. “Simon got one big new star out of it — L.A. Reid, and that was great casting. There’s going to be a natural reassessment.” READ FULL STORY

Simon Cowell returning to 'Britain's Got Talent' full-time

He’s baaaaaack.

Former American Idol judge and current X Factor judge Simon Cowell is set to appear in full capacity on the sixth season of Britain’s Got Talent this spring, the show announced today. Cowell only judged the live shows during last season, as much of his time was dedicated to launching The X Factor in the U.S.

Comedian David Williams, singer and Strictly Come Dancing (The British equivalent of Dancing With the Stars) host Alesha Dixon, and Amanda Holden will round out the panel.  (So long, Hoff!) READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor' winner's mentor says champ is 'someone who can sell records all over the world'

SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read any further if you don’t want to know who won the first season of The X Factor! For the rest of you, check out what the winner’s mentor had to say below:  READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor' judges and finalists on the Top 3's favorite performances, and why you shouldn't count out the groups

You have to give the folks at The X Factor credit for consistancy: Even their finale week press conference, held today on the show’s main stage at CBS Television City, opened with a full lighting package, an introduction from host Steve Jones, and mentor/judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, and L.A. Reid emerging from the mega-screen doors with finalists Melanie Amaro, Chris Rene, and Josh Krajcik. Before the press could ask any questions, we were even treated to a video package retracing the finalists’ “journeys” on the show.

After things finally did kick into gear, as is often the case with these kinds of “pressers” (to use the industry lingo), not a huge amount of news emerged from this event. Justin Bieber, Pitbull, and Ne-Yo will all perform on Thursday night’s finale, but there’s no word yet on which “superstar artist” (Simon’s words) will duet with the finalists on the Wednesday night show. Speaking of Wednesday night, Steve Jones had Melanie, Chris, and Josh pick from three cards to determine the order of the performances that night. Melanie drew the No. 1 card, which meant she got first dibs on when she wanted to sing, and she chose the final position. Chris had second choice, and he decided to sing second, which meant Josh will open the show.

There were a few other notable moments in the half-hour press event, though. Here are my top four impressions:  READ FULL STORY

Barbara Walters previews tonight's 'Most Fascinating People' lineup

Barbara Walters is known for her restrained interview technique, her unflappable professionalism in the face of blubbering celebrities and tough-as-nails politicians. But there’s one bold-faced name — and an unexpected one at that — who inspired a rise in Walters’ usually measured timbre when she spoke with EW about her upcoming special, Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2011. “I loved doing the interview,” spilled Walters of tart-tongued, deep-V-rocking X Factor host Simon Cowell.

Cowell was just one of the eight people Walters interviewed for tonight’s special, which runs 90 minutes for the first time in its 18-year history. Others included the Kardashians, Katy Perry, Donald Trump, and Derek Jeter. She will also profile Pippa Middleton and Amanda Knox. So what else did the interview queen have to say about Cowell and others on the short list? READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor' exit interview: 'It's nobody’s fault -- it's not even America's fault'

WARNING: Stop reading immediately if you don’t want to know who was kicked off of last night’s episode of The X Factor. For everyone else, read on for the exit interview with the act to leave the show this week: READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor' judges talk last night's emotional elimination: 'I genuinely know that Nicole didn't do this to be mean'

WARNING: Stop reading immediately if you don’t want to know who was kicked off of last night’s episode of The X Factor. For everyone else, read on to hear what the judges, minus the absent L.A. Reid, had to say about the controversial elimination: READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor': Simon Cowell on 'my big mouth,' and all four judges on their on-screen bickering

After last night’s colossal two-and-a-half-hour live episode of The X Factor, judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, and L.A. Reid took time out to speak with press on the X Factor stage. (Thankfully, there were no backup dancers.) EW also took time to talk with Simon about how he feels the show is doing so far this season, and what it’s like to be both a judge and the Man In Charge. On the second page, all four judges weigh in on their tough eliminations, their biggest competition, and what their take is on all the “squabbling” happening between them on air. (Paula spoke with EW at the end of the night, and so our interview was cut a bit short.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How do you feel the show’s been doing? You talked a big game as the show was beginning about wanting an audience number that the show hasn’t been able to reach yet.
SIMON COWELL: I mean, I opened my big mouth, basically, as usual, but I don’t regret it. What I was feeling at the time was, and I still feel it now, you want a show that’s going to go over 20 million. And you do everything you can to do it. In the real world, I’ve seen where all the other shows have done, where we’ve done — I’m feeling good about it. I’m feeling momentum. I know when it goes the other way, and that’s not a nice place to be.  READ FULL STORY

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