'X Factor': Simon Cowell on 'Voice' rivalry, ratings and L.A. Reid's exit
Cowell and his fellow judges held a press conference to promote the two-part Season 2 finale and hype the final three acts: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar and Fifth Harmony. But the hottest topics all involved what's ahead for "X Factor" following a year-to-year ratings decline and the recent announcement that L.A. Reid will exit the show.
"It's a committee decision, everyone has a say," Cowell says about who may replace Reid on the judges panel. "On a personal level I'm gonna miss L.A. and on a business level I'm gonna miss him. He's a brilliant record maker."
"Right now it's much more important that I spend my time focused on the contestants with us, because they need this," Cowell says about his current priorities. "It's a fantastic break for all of them. Once we've got past the next couple of days we'll think about next year. After a very long holiday in the Caribbean."
When a reporter mentions Reid's suggestion of Jon Bon Jovi as a replacement, Cowell laughs. Then -- in a nod to Fifth Harmony's breakout performance of an Ellie Goulding single last week -- adds, "Anything could happen."
"That's the spirit, Simon Cowell," Reid chimes in.
As for the ratings question, Cowell makes it clear he believes running concurrent with NBC's "The Voice" became an issue. "We were expecting there was going to be a problem with the ratings this year, not just with us but with everything, because it's overkill," Cowell explains. "Once 'The Voice' decided to go Monday, Tuesday and we were Wednesday, Thursday -- I use the expression it's like having 14 sugars in your coffee when you want two."
"I've done this for ten years," Cowell continues. "The one thing that's most important is the legacy you leave behind each year. The legacy we're gonna leave behind is strong, not just with [Stevens, Sonenclar and Fifth Harmony] but also with artists like Emblem3. That's what we're judged on."
And Cowell feel confident not only about the quality of the finale, but about the chances of his designated act -- Fifth Harmony. "I can feel a real momentum around these girls," Cowell says. "I think this is going to be the closest finals I've ever been involved in. Anyone can pull it off on the night, and I still believe my girls could win this."