Simon Cowell has said that last season the judges’ panel on Fox reality singing competition show, “The X Factor,” wasn’t as fun as he expected it to be.
Asked at Thursday’s Fox portion of the Television Critics Association Summer Tour about having to overhaul the judges’ panel after Season 2 (the panel then included Simon, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears, who has since left the show and L.A. Reid, who has also departed), the Brit likened the last season to a party that didn’t go as planned.
“It’s like having a dinner party, you know. You invite people for dinner, and sometimes it’s a fun night. Other times, it’s not as much fun as you thought it was going to be,” he told reporters.
“This is a fun dinner party,” he added, referring to the panel’s new make-up – Paulina Rubio and Kelly Rowland alongside he and Demi.
The reporter pressed Simon to dish on when he realized it wasn’t as “fun a dinner party as” he was “hoping to throw,” and the Brit said he got a feeling at one point during Season 2 that things weren’t going as well as he had hoped.
“That’s a very difficult question to answer. I suppose it was more of a feeling I felt that what we were doing was similar to what everybody was doing. I’m being honest with you,” he said. “And I had this impatience to get on to Season 3 so that we could do what I wanted to do.”
While “The X Factor” once boasted a monumental $5 million recording contract, Simon said now, the show has a more modest $1 million prize.
“We got to a point where I think the idea was to raise attention, but it almost — this is going to sound crazy coming from me — it was almost too much,” he said. “We want artists who really want to be artists. The prize will be a million dollars, which is still a lot of money.
“They still get a recording contract with Sony, they become a number one priority, and we think that’s a more reasonable figure now,” he continued. “But, like I said, I don’t very often offer out $1 million recording contracts.”
While the success rate of winners on reality singing competitions varies, Simon said producing a successful artist is very important to the show itself.
“It can’t survive. No show can survive without that,” Simon said. “I mean, you’re making a promise, essentially, to the contestants that you’re going to try and turn them into a real life artist or the show finishes. It’s not a guarantee, but that is your commitment. Otherwise, it’s just a game show.
“So I take it, I know these girls [Demi, Paulina and Kelly], since I’ve been working with them, I take [it as] this is the most serious thing I do, which not so much what you do within the competition, but what happens outside the competition,” he added. “And what we’ve proven with the show over the years is that it’s got an incredible track record of breaking artists internationally and not just in one country. Obviously, One Direction is probably the best example of that, but that’s why we make the show.”
The two-night Season 3 premiere of “The X Factor” kicks off September 11 on Fox.
-- Jolie Lash