Simon Cowell wasn’t in Beverly Hills for the Television Critics Association press tour, but he did appear via satellite to discuss “The X Factor,” which premieres in the U.S. on Sept 21.
The media mogul, who was either in his lair on the moon, aboard the guest star, or in a ball pit at Chuck-E Cheese (according to “X Factor” host Steve Jones) explained his decision to remove Cheryl Cole as a judge, which caused controversy earlier in the year.
“Look, if it was a question of not getting along with Paula then I wouldn’t have been on the show,” he jokes. He explains that after two cities of auditions, he and other producers of the show thought that Cole would be more comfortable in the UK.
“I probably got this wrong, and I’ll admit it,” he says, explaining that he thought that Cole’s return to the UK “would’ve been a big headline.” He explains that she initially accepted the offer, and when she changed her mind, he did offer to reinstate her on the US version, but she declined. “I guess that’s what happens when you make reality TV,” he says. “I take it on the chin. Having said that, Nicole [Scherzinger, Cole’s replacement] has been a revelation.”
Initially, Scherzinger was a co-host, and Cowell says she had to be “really forced to take the job.”
“The reason that I accepted the position as a cohost when Simon asked me was because of this dude right here and because I do believe in him and I trust him,” Scherzinger says of Cowell. Still, when she was asked to go from co-host to panelist, she was thrilled. “I was so honored and so elated. I cried for days because I felt that I was more at home on the panel. I’m really happy, and Simon, you can’t get rid of me. I love our big dysfunctional happy family.”
As for Mariah Carey, Cowell confirms that she was in negotiations to be a judge at one time. He spoke with her recently and hopes that she will still be involved in the show. “There’s certain sections on the show where we do have well-known people helping us on the show and there’s a section on the show I’m hoping Mariah will get involved with,” he says, then jokes, “she’s been enthusiastic from day one, but then selfishly got pregnant which is why she didn’t end up as a judge.”