The X Factor: Two Hosts, and Two New Female Judges for Season 2, Says Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell said he learned a lot during The X Factor‘s first season, not the least of which is that sometimes he’d be better off keeping his big mouth shut. The tart-tongued reality vet, who’d predicted the U.S. version of his British hit would be a ratings behemoth for Fox, had to eat some humble pie when the show achieved solid but not spectacular ratings last fall.

Now, as The X Factor gets ready to kick off its Season 2 audition process March 14 in Kansas City, MO, Cowell fielded a conference call with reporters to preview what changes are in store for his show.

It will take two people to do the work of the departing Steve Jones | “I always wanted a boy and a girl to host the show,” Cowell said, reminding reporters that X Factor had initially intended to have Jones and Nicole Scherzinger share emcee duties in Season 1. (That plan was scrapped when Scherzinger took over as a mentor following Cheryl Cole’s abrupt departure.) With Jones also getting the boot in last month’s X Factor bloodbath, Cowell said he can now get back to his original vision. “The traditional host role has to change into something else,” argued Cowell, who added he thinks it’s “almost impossible” for one person to juggle contestants’ telephone numbers, sponsor integration, on-stage interviews, herding of judges, and other duties. What’s more, said Cowell, he doubts that he’ll end up hiring people who are already in the TV hosting business, instead opting for people who will help X Factor look and feel different from its competitors.

Don’t look for guys to occupy the seats in between Simon and L.A. Reid | Cowell said he is “100 percent” certain he’ll hire two women to replace departing mentors Scherzinger and Paula Abdul.

The show won’t give up on the “Groups” category — despite wretched results in Season 1 | Cowell reiterated that having groups mixed in with solo artists helps differentiate X Factor from The Voice and American Idol. What’s more, he added, there’s a “massive opportunity” for the show to discover this generation’s TLC, N Sync, Backstreet Boys, or Destiny’s Child.

Expect a Whitney Houston tribute | That said, added Cowell, he fully expects Idol and The Voice to pay homage to the late diva before their current seasons end. As a result, X Factor will have to brainstorm ideas to honor Houston “in a different way.”

You probably won’t see a showdown of reality singing competition winners anytime soon | “I was disappointed with the reactions back from the other two shows,” said Cowell when asked about his recent Tweet calling for a World Series of sorts pitting the X Factor champ against the winners of Idol and The Voice. “They’ve both bottled it for now.” Still, never say never, Cowell insisted. “I’m still up for it!”

What do you think of Cowell’s plans for Season 2? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Sam says:

    Maybe some women with actual current success in the pop music industry? Mariah Carey’s all well and good, but why not Katy Perry or even someone like Colbie Calliat? I bet Jason Mraz would be an interesting judge, but he’s not a girl. Or Kara Dioguardi would be nice, as she really came into her own on Idol’s 9th season.

    • Tess says:

      They would never go with Kara for the same reason they sacked Paula -they want to differentiate from Idol and her brief involvement kills her chances of ever being on X Factor.
      I hope they don’t pick two “superstars” ala JLo and Christina just to compete in the bigger stars as mentor/judges game. I don’t want to see anyone who is boring and/or quiet who won’t bring it on the panel and give their all to the category they are mentoring. If having lesser “stars” means getting someone who is going to be a fair and competent judge and a supportive teaching mentor then I’d rather have that. I don’t think they have to have someone who is a current on the charts singer (JLo wasn’t making hits for a bit until she got on Idol and Christina’s only hit in a long time was by tacking on to Maroon 5 so it’s not like they were making current big hits prior to their signings). I don’t want to see someone who just wants to use it to further their careers or revive their careers either (again, see JLo and Christina), I want women who are in the business somehow who will do the job being asked of them on this show and do it well.
      I also hope they don’t go picking a lousy pair of hosts. I worry about the double host idea going the way of Dunkleman. They only need one host in the UK so it’s not really true that they need two people to fully handle it (Heck, if Nicole had stayed a host with Steve and not become a judge, I think people still would’ve hated them both and wanted them out and maybe the two host format would’ve been scrapped). Don’t pick a vapid pretty model type girl and a handsome idiot guy. Pick some people that maybe know the business but also have some hosting experience. I keep thinking Mark McGrath and maybe someone with MTV ties (not Vanessa Lachey but someone like her perhaps…).
      Glad the groups category is staying put too. With Simon’s UK X Factor made boy band, One Direction, gaining steam here in the US, as well as fellow UK boy band The Wanted breaking in here, I can see his theory about wanting to find an American group to match. Plus, last year’s UK version finally had a group win (a girl group at that)and a few non-winners like One Direction have become successful there, so there is proof that the category can be successful. With the right mentor anyway.

      • Katy says:

        Errrmm, i agree with you on some level Tess – but being from the uk i can tell you the wanted have absolutely nothing to do with the x factor in any way shape or form. we DO have acts over here who got into the charts without the help of reality tv. one direction are doing really well, but the biggest success is a group called jls who (even though i cant stand them) have had a shed load of no 1s over here and won a ton of awards. yes, a girl group won this year – the first group to win ever in it’s 8 year history, so it’s not exactly a great idea to have groups. out of all the groups to be on the show, sometimes 3 and sometimes 4 a year, only 2 boy groups have had any real success and only one group has ever won.

    • Gorm says:

      Why not those people you listed? Well, for one the show isnt good enough for anyone that is currently successful. Its a gig for someone that needs back in the spotlight, not someone who has a good career trajectory going. Why’s that? Its because the show is a tacky, unpleasant mess. It will take a long time to disassociate Nicole Shemgerzeveahs from the image of a wailing tear soaked 12 year old having her heart broken. Its the sillyness of the stage, costumes and production. Its those empty mansions with grass painted up to look greener. Its an ugly, chaotic show that never worked well and didnt produce a successful “world star”. In short, any big name will be slumming it. Every star you saw early in the judges houses rounds filmed before the unspectacular ratings came in, and the show never elevated itself from there.
      Any “big star” that agrees to the job has several unpleasant things they are accepting: Simon still in charge, ugly judge bickering, that ugly set, the restrictive copy-idol-everywhere format, the scraeming audience, again having 12 year olds cry from your decisions, being in a potential 3rd place show behind idol and voice and worst of all, they’ll never be the focus of the show’s attention which will always be on Simon and his contestants.
      It would have to be a very well paying gig, and for the time commitment they want with the mentoring segment, nobody with an active musical carrer would spend that much effor pushing simon’s brand rather than their own.

  2. G-Mom says:

    Could it be any worse?

  3. Roger says:

    Thank goodness Steve Jones got the boot! Couldn’t stand him at all!
    Ughh, very bummed to see Paula Abdul not returning in season 2. She and Simon were the main reasons that i watched x factor.
    Good luck Season 2 as losing Paula may hurt ur ratings. Smarten up and bring Paula back!!!

  4. Margy says:

    I pity any woman pulled into judging on the same panel as Simon Cowell. He’s insulted, belittled, and degraded every one he’s ever worked with. He clearly doesn’t respect them.

  5. Vetle says:

    Cheryl Cole + Katy Perry/Kara DioGuardi. I think as a mentor, Kara could be very good from a pure technical standpoint. Also, she could pick songs.

    • forrest says:

      Keep dreaming ’cause Katy Perry is riding a massive wave of success right now. Why jump to TV when you’re at the top of your recording / performing career? ‘aint gonna happen if she has any sort of professional manager. As far as Paula, I think her lack of success with the groups pretty much sealed her fate on the show. Brittny Spears, sure. Janet Jackson, sure. Leanne Rhymes, sure, no problems with any of those choices. Thanks to NBC who Jessica Simpson out of the running.

      • Gorm says:

        I’ve never considered Brittany Spears before but she is absolutely perfect. She’s an established Pepsi performer, she’d benefit from the redemptive arc of getting a chance to appear to the public as well spoken, composed and intelligent. I’m not exaggerating when I say the last time I remember seeing her is still the time she shaved her head and attacked an SUV. Its been long enough that Xfactor would actually be a way to start shedding her past and leave that hunt for spotlight that was her old career.

        • KSM says:

          Britney is still WAY too successful to give up what she has going on for a gig like this. They definitely need someone who understands a group dynamic. Janet may be good at that, having been around her brothers. Or someone from like SWV, TLC, an old Destiny’s Child member or something.

  6. N says:

    Sorry but X Factor USA just sucks. The Simon/Paula relationship was the main reason I watched. And honestly the show was boring, the Voice is just more entertaining…I hated when he let Cheryl go and I will not watch without Paula.

    • Gorm says:

      good point. The Voice’s is just more entertaining with those silly but instantly dramtic spinning chairs. XF is just Idol done up in Red rather than blue. They really really should have taken more time and re-though the entire audition, selection & performance mechanism of the show. But thats a difficult puzzle to figure out, and Simon is a lazy man who prefers to copy rather than innovate.
      XFactor S2 should have been the most interactive show ever, with almost frightening twitter integration where you can see the real real real show and drama, despite the good and bad. I cant fathom how to do it, but take its smaller audience and fully engage them along each singer’s path. Make Simon, LA, et al. have to sell their chosen singer to ME and not blithely “critique” and compliment, develop a more interesting elimination criteria than the predictable 1-a-week exits.
      Or have success be based on a new criteria, raw Itunes sales that week. Thats the real crucible of the music industry. Give some kids each a studio, engineer, band, mentor & consultant and have them have to push out and perform a new single every week or two. Then perform live and track sales in real time. No more phone or text voting, its all raw dollars now. Track their cumulative income. BE EXCITING.
      Or dont, be Simon, wear v-necks, worry more about your next smoke break and just keep copying.

  7. karenb says:

    I thought it was odd that Simon said he “always wanted a boy and girl to host.” He means a man and a woman, right?! :)

  8. Margo says:

    I can do without them trying to do Whitney tributes, both Idol and X Factor…but I’m sure its inevitable sighs
    I hope that Janet Jackson doesn’t sign on for this

  9. Will says:

    Celine Dion & Lady Gaga – both can sing and perform, but Dion is one of the world’s best singers and Gaga is one of the world’s best performers.

  10. Lisa says:

    Getting rid of Steve and Nicole was the right move but I’m still bummed over losing Paula. It’s obvious she and Simon have always had chemistry so I actually think less of Simon for not taking a chance and giving her another season with a different female judge.

    • Yesenia says:

      I completely agree! Paula worked hard, and the groups actually did quite well. America just didn’t catch on, and they tried to do too much by taking two groups to the finals who hadn’t ever worked together before. If they were able to find a small group of R&B female singers like Destiny’s Child, or some smooth-singing young men like N’Sync (and if they actually gave them screen time), even as a manufactured group, the groups could excel, and Paula would be an amazing coach on vocals AND choreography.
      inTENsity was doomed because it was ten (TEN!) random minors from different parts of the country. The StereoHogzz failed because they were simply unmemorable and were essentially a soloist with a few barely-participating back-ups. Lakoda Rayne had the most potential for sure, but they just never gelled as well as they needed to. Paula did really well with what she was given, though.

  11. John says:

    My last comment was erased for some reason without explanation, but just wanted to throw it out there that Haley Reinhart’s new single just debuted for anyone interested, as I know this blog is pro-Haley.

  12. raftrap says:

    Cheryl Cole, just get her back, I don’t care about the other 3, just bring back the only thing I actually enjoyed last year in that show.

  13. selena says:

    Groups…they don’t work anymore. its not the late 90s early 00s. I think he should have bands then. Bands would work. not groups.

  14. Selena says:

    I liked the idea of Britney doing it. That may be an interesting mentor. She’s been in the business a long time. Another one, Shania T. She was excellent when she helped with judging on American Idol. I also think she has a good ear.

  15. Mikael says:

    I think Janet Jackson would be great! She is horribly underrated.

  16. Ramification says:

    Cheryl Cole is not a good judge she was really awful in her second year in the uk x factor afraid to give any real criticism so that she kept her public image. She just gave meaningless soundbites.

  17. Armen says:

    So, anyone know how to apply to this hosting position?