At what point in Season 2 of “The X Factor” did Simon Cowell realize it was time, yet again, to revise the already revised judges panel?
Cowell was of course joking when answering the question Thursday during the show’s panel at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills.
“It’s like having a dinner party,” Cowell said, adding that part of the decision came because he felt like the show was starting to feel like every other singing competition series. "You invite people to dinner -- sometimes it’s a fun night, other times it’s not as fun as it’s going to be. This [new panel] is a fun dinner party.”
The 53-year-old music competition czar was joined by the new faces of the seemingly always-in-flux show -- host Mario Lopez and the new judges, Mexican singer Paulina Rubio and Destiny’s Child-turned-solo artist Kelly Rowland (along with returning judge Demi Lovato). The new judges take over slots filled by L.A. Reid, who had been with the show since its inception, and Britney Spears, who left after a one-season stint. Rubio and Rowland both have experience in the genre: Rowland judged on the British counterpart of “The X Factor,” and Rubio has lent her expertise to Mexico’s version of “The Voice."
So about that male-to-female ratio?
“It’s one of those ideas that sounds great on paper.... Then you actually do it,” Cowell teased. The decision to be female-heavy, according to Cowell, was to reflect what was going on in the music industry--"It’s girls’ world on the music business."
Although Cowell squirmed a bit about the notion of ever returning to “American Idol” if “The X Factor,” not exactly a ratings juggernaut, ever gets canceled, it was a topic he preferred over addressing his baby drama.
“I haven’t read the newspapers. Did I miss anything?” he joked, before saying he has to keep it “private. It’s just one of those things.”
Earlier in the day, news about Fox’s other singing competition broke. The network’s entertainment chairman, Kevin Reilly, confirmed that Keith Urban would return to the judges table at “American Idol.”
“Keith did a great job last year. The fans really liked him,” Reilly told a room of reporters. “With the new panel, you are going to see that Keith is a really funny guy.” So far, Urban is the sole confirmed judge. Veteran “Idol” judge Randy Jackson and season 12 newbies Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey have all confirmed they would not be back this season.
As for the rumors burning up the internet that Jennifer Lopez would also make a return, Reilly didn’t commit one way or another: “There have been discussions there. There is no deal with her or anyone else.”