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Who Will Join Cowell And Reid On X Factor?

Aja Dang |
March 31, 2011 | 1:01 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

X Factor (via Fox)
X Factor (via Fox)
I am beyond excited. Ok, excited is an understatement as the whole month of September is already highlighted in my planner and the country-wide auditions are being followed closely. After seven years in international waters, The X Factor has passed immigration and can finally call America home. 

First an X Factor breakdown: The competition is open to both solo artists and groups, has no upper age limit and the judges act as mentors to the final contestants, helping them decide on song and style choices. 

The winner will get a recording contract with Syco in a joint venture with Sony Music and a $5 million prize. 

Simon Cowell said this would be the “largest guaranteed prize in television history” and was intended to encourage people of all ages to audition.  

Truth be told, it almost got a little ol’ graduate student from USC to stand in line at the LA Sports Area this past weekend, which drew a crowd of 18,000 people. 

Of course, the show needs judges worthy of such a coveted prize. While two seats are already filled, the third continues to be a game of musical chairs. 

Patriarch Simon Cowell, has taken judge seat number one. Duh. His brutal honesty, sarcastic humor and signature British accent will certainly carry the show.

In a nice move by X Factor execs, L.A. Reid has just been signed on to sit next to Cowell on the judges panel. Reid, who recently stepped down from his post as Chairman of Island Def Jam, is responsible for the careers of Mariah Carey, TLC, Kanye West, Rihanna and Pink. His career spans an impressive 22 years, making him beyond qualified for the show.

The third seat is still in question. The rumor mill has been turning about possible options and big named artists like Nicki Minaj and Elton John have been tossed around. 

While the Cash Money princess would be amazing, a few names have been solidified as top runners for the position: George Michael, former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul and Jessica Simpson.

Cowell has confirmed the first four with Access Hollywood earlier this month, Simpson has been getting a lot of tabloid play as of late, making this fan a bit worried. 

Jessica Simpson seems sweet and would certainly make the contestants feel comfortable around her, she is in no way, shape, or form qualified for the position. Let’s ignore the fact that she will be Simons punching bag for the season and just concentrate on facts.

While she has sold 20 million records worldwide, in her 12-year career, Simpson has never had a number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and only has one number one album under her belt for Do You Know. But for the life of me, I still haven’t met one person who has ever heard of the album, nonetheless bought it. 

I like her, I really do, she is a surprisingly business-savvy woman who is worth a cool $100 million, but has no business sitting next to the likes of Cowell and Reid on a talent competition. However, I do think Simpson should be in the running for the hosting gig. 

As proof by Newlyweds, America loves Jessica Simpson, as a person. She will be cute and funny, with the occasional (or frequent?) air-headed comment and I totally anticipate sexual tension developing between her and Simon. I think it would be a good match. 

Ok, now that we’ve settled that, back to the others. While Mariah Carey would be the get of a lifetime, she’s about to pop soon and will have no time to be doing anything but caring for her two twins. She’s out. Nicole Scherzinger would bring a youthful flair to the panel and has also guest judged on the UK X Factor, but she doesn’t have a loud enough personality to stand out against the two divas already on the panel. She’s out too. 

George Michael is quite the interesting choice. Originally of the popular 80‘s group Wham! George went on to have a successful solo career. However, with his infatuation for public sex and history of drug abuse, this doesn’t seem like a very good idea.  Anyways, logistically speaking, I don’t think X Factor will go with an all-man judging panel anyways, so he’s out as well. 

And I’ve saved the best for last. 

Paula Abdul. 

Abdul, frankly, seems to be the only person for the job. I have no reason for this other than the fact that we’ve already seen Paula and Simon in action on American Idol. The two have a fun, flirty banter going on and Paula has shown that she can do the job. Once Paula left Idol, the show took a turn for the worst and fans missed the crazy judge.  Fox would be insane to not bring her back. If that happens, Randy can be a guest judge for a nice little reunion, which will certainly be one of the most watched shows of the season. I think Paula’s a shoe-in for the job. 

Only time will tell who will take the remaining seat at the judges table, but no matter who it is, The X Factor franchise will certainly be a huge hit in the US.

And for those of you who believe you have the “x factor”, there’s still time to audition! X Factor will continue to hold audition in Miami, Newark, Seattle, Chicago and Dallas over the next month. 


Reach reporter Aja Dang here.

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