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HOME > The X Factor > The X Factor (Season 2)

Simon Cowell sets the record straight on 'The X Factor' judge rumors

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/08/2012 

Simon Cowell hasn't revealed which stars he would like to replace Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger on The X Factor's second-season judging panel, however he has confirmed that viewers can at least strike three rumored names off the list.

The X Factor and former American Idol judge aggressively shot down rumors claiming the show would be willing to pay $100 million a year for singer Beyonce Knowles to participate as a judge alongside himself and L.A. Reid next season.

"No! I have no idea where this rumor came from. I read it online that I offered her $100 million a year. It's completely nonsense. The budget of the show is $100 million. No one's going to pay $100 million for someone," Cowell told former girlfriend and Extra correspondent Terri Seymour in a recent interview.

"Forget it, no. It would never, ever, ever happen. It's absolute nonsense, and I genuinely haven't had a conversation with her about it -- swear to God."

Cowell said rumors suggesting that singer Elton John will become a member of the reality singing competition's judging panel are also equally ridiculous.

"No, no," Cowell told Seymour when asked whether he's spoken to John about the opportunity.

"Absolutely not. He's in the Super Bowl commercial with [The X Factor first-season winner] Melanie Amaro. But no, he wouldn't do it and he'd be really difficult to work with. I'm not telling you, Terri, because if I say somebody -- like when I mentioned Mariah Carey may be interested last year -- again, everyone was saying, 'Well when is she going to do the show?' It creates false rumors."

The X Factor creator also insisted he hasn't sought out Carey for one of the two open spots, which would seemingly please the singer's husband Nick Cannon -- who had recently mentioned that joining The X Factor would be a big step down for Carey.   

"No, she's not on the list because I don't think Mariah would make that commitment. I really, really don't. She's just had kids. Like I said, you have to work five days a week on this show and you've got to do all the traveling as well," Cowell explained.

"So just to put it out there, she will not be on the list. I adore her. I would love her, but you can't expect someone who's just had two kids that's got a record career to make the kind of commitment we would need on this show."

However, Cowell didn't have an issue tossing around a couple names during the interview of whom he believed would make very good additions to the show as judges if he actually chose to pursue them. 

"I think [Madonna] would be great. In terms of experience and success, brilliant -- lippy [but] expensive," Cowell said, adding that singer Katy Perry would also probably live up to his high standards.

"Yeah, I worked with Katy once and I think she'd be fun because she is hard in a good way and she's feisty."

Cowell told Seymour The X Factor producers had begun discussing possible changes to the show at the "beginning of the year." He said it was "fairly straight what they wanted" and they were told "it had to happen right away."

The announcements that Abdul and Scherzinger won't be reprising their roles as judges were amongst the show's biggest changes for the upcoming second season, but Cowell insisted both women are taking the news fairly well despite the initial shock.  

"[Paula] is fine. I called her that night. She was very gracious and I said that to her. Everything that she said publicly -- she understands that it's business, it's never personal," Cowell explained, adding however that he "would've liked to have kept her."

"I don't think [Nicole] is mad. I think she's disappointed. But keeping L.A. Reid was important. There's not a record executive out there, I don't think, who is as good as him for the job."

The X Factor also decided to ax host Steve Jones from its upcoming season, and Cowell disclosed only a general idea about who he's looking for to fill the position.

"I always said I want it to be a boy and a girl," Cowell said.

Although The X Factor's first season failed to reach record-breaking ratings, Cowell insisted he was extremely happy with the show's performance and took responsibility for setting unrealistic expectations from the start.
"Most things did work. I [just] opened my big mouth at the beginning and said we were going to get 20 million [viewers]. If I hadn't have said that, everybody would be saying the show -- as a new show -- was a huge success," Cowell added.

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