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Simon Cowell promotes ‘X Factor’ yet again: he’s ‘psyched’ to be back on the air again

'X Factor,' here they come on Sept. 21! CREDIT: Fox

'X Factor,' here they come on Sept. 21! CREDIT: Fox

Finally, “The X Factor” is near.

Simon Cowell announced he was leaving ‘Idol” and starting the  U.S. version of “X Factor” in the spring of 2010. The tease has been going on so long, it’s hard to believe the actual show is a mere six days away! (Wednesday, Sept. 21, to be exact)

He did yet another press conference with plebes like me on Tuesday. Here are some of the highlights. Sadly, not all the questions were terribly smart but that’s how these press conferences go.

Isn’t it ironic? Asked what he’d think if “Idol” won an Emmy this year, he said he’d find it “funny” and then joke that he’d claim victory for it since an Emmy can sometimes be perceived as a lifetime achievement award.

Nerves? “It’s good nerves. I’m really psyched. We’re going to do something like a film premiere in a cinema. It’s brilliant.” [I guess they were having some sort of red carpet event like a movie.]

Will they encourage different versions of famous songs like Kris Allen’s “Heartless”? “100%. We want as unique a version as possible, else it’s just a karaoke competition. Within three weeks, you’ll start hearing contestants way outside their comfort zones. You don’t want a bad sound a like.”

I asked him whether there are songs that he really would ban from over use? ” ‘I Believe I Can Fly.’ ‘At Last.’ I’m allergic to that song. Everyone thinks  ‘Unchained Melody’ i smy favorite tune. That’s a joke. It’s not. I can’t hear that anymore. That hit by Jason Mraz. I can’t listen to that either. Another one is ‘Ordinary People’ by John Legend. People always try to sing that version but it’s never as good. I have to stop it after five seconds.”

Paula Abdul as an ‘old dog’: “A great thing working about her is that within five minutes of filming, she’s not aware the cameras are on. She’s fight with you over something important, often not. It’s like getting an old dog from the rescue. It’s great to see you. The relationship is back intact.”

The infamous back stories: “They’re crucial. I get to meet the contestants for the first time when they audition. We have no background on them at all. I don’t want to know. If they’re interesting to me when I ask them questions, they should be interesting to people watching the show. If they start droning on about singing since they were three or four, I’m honestly not interested. I expect they all wanted to be singers. That’s obvious. I’m interested in back stories. If they’re gotten divorced. Why did they divorce. If they are married. Are they happy leaving college to pursue a music career?… You’ve really got to be an interesting person and have a good back story.”

Bringing Randy Jackson to the fold? “I miss Randy. He’s a really good friend. We could get him a couple of front-row seats. He can do his dog barking thing. Seriously, I really do miss him. But he’s happy on ‘Idol.’ … We hang out all the time. I plan to see him for dinner this week.”

American audiences vs. Brit audiences: “The American audiences are more vocal. When they like someone, they let you know and certainly let you know when they disagree with you. Tapings are better in the evenings. They’re more drunk – and louder. I like that.”

Coaching on ‘The Voice’: “They didn’t do it as well as we did… Can you mentor someone through a show and actually create a star? You will have to judge ‘X Factor’ on what we do compared to what they did on ‘The Voice.’ As I’m talking to you this week, an artist I mentored on ‘X Factor’ last year on the U.K. who came in third, they’re going to have the biggest selling single this year, a band called One Direction. That’s what I call proper mentoring, preparing them for the real world.”

Cheryl Cole scrubbed out? “She’ll be in the first hour. And then she gets replaced by Nicole.” [How they'll explain the change, he did not say.]

How to convince Fox to bring “X Factor” to the states: “The show was becoming more and more popular around the world. Inevitably, someone would have come along and do something close to that show. Once we explained that to Fox, they accepted the fact it’s going to have to go on the air. They didn’t have to be brought in dragging and screaming. These are expensive shows to produce. Because we had a couple of good years in the U.K., I think it sped up the process. They really got into it. The other challenges are who should judge and host it. Lots of things went wrong along the way… bad things happen when you make a reality show. It becomes very public. We just have to deal with it.” [He was obviously alluding to the whole Cheryl Cole mess.]

Previews show Simon getting rather upset. Why? “It was during the boot camp shows with 110 contestants. They were given a list of songs that they had to strip down. They were coming up with weird creative versions of songs. They were sounding worse and worse. It sounded like rubbish. We had a live show. They knew it was rubbish. It was one of those uncomfortable days. The producers thought it would be amusing to include it in the show. I was embarrassed but why not keep it in?” [Hey, wait. He's the top executive producer. He knows good TV. Of course he was going to keep it in!]

Why mentoring is superior to the ‘Idol’ hands off approach: “I used to get frustrated that we couldn’t do anything with the contestants on a week-to-week basis. They’d make these awful decisions. Some contestants haven’t done well may have won for popularity but not have a unique talent demonstrated week to week. We have to update the process.” [Hmmm.... was he alluding to the show Kris Allen/Adam Lambert dynamic?]

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44 comments Add your comment

JTesla

September 15th, 2011
5:49 pm

Thanks Rodney. Looking forward to the show, not looking forward to the Paula-Simon dynamic. Good to hear about Simon and Randy.

As for songs… LOL I’m with him on those.

Deirdre

September 16th, 2011
7:27 am

Morning!

Thanks for the Simon interview, Rodney. Ditto what JT said.

Deirdre

September 16th, 2011
7:43 am

For all the Adam Lambert fans out there(sorry, Rickster) he will be a judge on Project Runway next week.

Sam-A

September 16th, 2011
8:49 am

Per this morning’s printed AJC, Danny Gokey is opening for Taylor Swift – that’s a pretty big gig for him!

Mercedes S.

September 16th, 2011
9:43 am

Well, that PR is one my TV HAS to record in my absence. Leaving Sunday for a cpl weeks in the Old Country. Can’t believe all the fab sounding new shows I’ll miss. Will even miss start of X-factor… which I have NOT sent on record.

Mercedes S.

September 16th, 2011
9:49 am

”’Which I have NOT set on record”. I’m just gonna read y’alls coments here and decide if it’s worth following, What I do look forward to: The New Girl:, “Unforgettable”,”Person of Interest”, “A Gifted Man”, Terra Nova, Homeland… and oldies The Mentalist and Walking Dead.

Deirdre

September 16th, 2011
9:54 am

Mercedes, I just read a review of Straw Dogs and was taken aback by the description of the “redneck neanderthals” who populate the film. I thought we had made some strides in the “all Southerners are evil, racist, dimwits with violent streaks” debate but apparently the director didn’t get the message.

Name (required)

September 16th, 2011
10:00 am

Will Simon snatch up Randy when AI finally gets mercy-killed?

Mercedes S.

September 16th, 2011
10:58 am

Ditrector Rod Lurie is a snobbish former LA critic, who knows little of the South.The house the hero and his slu- – y wife barricade themselves in is a rustic STONE house,for starters. I saw movie only because of Alexander “Eric” Skarsgård, who plays the lead baddie. He’s evil and mean, and still manages to be the saddest rapist you ever saw. Sick, or good acting? James Woods is known for chewing the scenery and he’s overactinng big time here – no spanish moss in sight.

Mercedes S.

September 16th, 2011
11:00 am

And D. Director Lurie seems to be of the opinion that all backwood Southerners have family trees with no branches.

Deirdre

September 16th, 2011
11:06 am

The man ought to be horse-whipped(is that too “southern” of me?)

Straw Dogs was an extremely controversial film when it first appeared. I think this version may be controversial for a whole different reason.

Branch Loveless

September 16th, 2011
11:43 am

Who’s the dude on the right in that picture? The host? I’m sure it has been covered before but I’ve missed it.

Deirdre

September 16th, 2011
11:47 am

Yep, Branch, he’s the host but I don’t remember his name.

Branch Loveless

September 16th, 2011
11:50 am

Thanks, Deirdre and LOL! because next I was gonna ask his name and how he came to be the host!

JTesla

September 16th, 2011
12:07 pm

He is giagantor. He also has the official title of: Guard of the Legs and Protector of the Little People.

Deirdre

September 16th, 2011
12:07 pm

His name is Steve Jones and…he’s very tall. ;-)

Deirdre

September 16th, 2011
12:09 pm

I think he might have gotten the job because Nicole Scherzinger(who was supposed to be the co-host rather than a coach before Simon dumped the lovely Cheryl Cole)is …very tall, too.

Deirdre

September 16th, 2011
12:09 pm

Just guessing.

Branch Loveless

September 16th, 2011
12:12 pm

Makes sense to me. Never heard of him though.

I like the official title, JT. Good work if you can get it.

[...] American Idol [...]

Rickster

September 16th, 2011
12:51 pm

No problem your queeness. Don’t watch the show anyway… so I don’t have to worry about “The guy who came in second to Kris Allen, (You know, Kris, the guy who actually won?” being on it.

Branch Loveless

September 16th, 2011
1:12 pm

JT – be sure to check out the Other Blog (which actually refers to THIS blog as the other blog) to see more Nancy Grace! I know you are psyched about that, huh?

JTesla

September 16th, 2011
1:24 pm

Thanks Branch, some disturbing stuff.

Nana

September 16th, 2011
1:34 pm

Hey Everyone!!!!!!!!

Gosh, I have missed this blog and all my friends here. I am back home after spending 18 days in the hospital, and am trying to get my strength and energy back.

I heard that AJC is doing away with the blog (bummer) but that we can go to RoHo’s Radio Blog. Does anyone know when this will take effect?

I didn’t think that I would be excited about X-Factor, but I can’t wait to see it. I will be tuned in next week when it premiers and not just to watch S/P. I hope the show is as good as people expect it to be.

Deirdre

September 16th, 2011
1:39 pm

Welcome back, Nana! You need to stay out of the danged hospital!

As to when the blog is closing, Rodney will be making that announcement next week.

Branch Loveless

September 16th, 2011
1:42 pm

Nana- sorry to hear of another hospital stay for you…and 18 days???

Take care and hope your strength and energy return quickly.

Nana

September 16th, 2011
2:26 pm

I am going to do everything in my power to stay out of that darn place!!!! Not a fun place to be at all.

Rosita

September 16th, 2011
2:39 pm

Welcome back, Nana!
A Vent about the lack of proofreading at the AJC Online: Just now having a casual read of today’s news and came across these two stinkers: “predominately white” and “the children were disbursed”.
Damme!!! Can’t they afford a proofreader, Rodney? Blogs are one thing, but a JOURNALISM SITE????

Woodpappy

September 16th, 2011
2:46 pm

Glad to have you back Nana. Hoping you health continues to improve everyday !

Mercedes S.

September 16th, 2011
2:51 pm

Thanks for clearing up the mystery of the jolly giant on the far right.
The other four are obviously Randy, Kara, Simon and Paula.

Good to “hear” proofs of life from Nana AND Rosita!

As for “Driver”, too much testosterone and existentialism for me. Sweet kiss betweenGuy and Gal in elevator, lasting a full ten seconds, and then Guy stomps third person to death.

Sam-A

September 16th, 2011
2:58 pm

Nana: I’ve missed your descriptions of what you’re cooking for dinner! Glad to hear you’re back to your own bed and your sweet dogs and grandkids!

Mercedes S.

September 16th, 2011
2:59 pm

Third big movie to open today, “I Don’t Know How She Does It” feels clueless. Based on old book, pre-9/11/2011, when the world cheered on people who were only concerned about making money and sticking knives in fellow-workers’ backs. SJP’s age-spotted (she’s almost 50) hands make her look like a grandma when she picks up her character’s 2-year old. Woman is supposed to be 33!
I did laugh a few times, mostly at a poker-faced underling (Olivia Munn).

Nana

September 16th, 2011
3:29 pm

Thanks for all the welcome backs.

Mercedes, what can you tell me about “The Help”? Is it worth paying money to see it? II want to go see it when I’m able, but I want to be sure it’s worth the price.

Sam-A

September 16th, 2011
3:32 pm

Nana: I really liked “The Help” – acting was specially good. I didn’t read the book, but was in a sold out theater, and everyone seemed to like it. Take lots of kleenex!

Deirdre

September 16th, 2011
3:42 pm

I thought The Help was great!

Mercedes S.

September 16th, 2011
4:09 pm

I liked “The Help” very much, Nana; some women are caricatures, obviously, but some of the others – I’ve met them! Scary and scary good. Viola Davis might win an Oscar. I love Emma Stone.

Rickster

September 16th, 2011
6:06 pm

Glad to hear you’re on the mend, Nana. You’re due for some easy time, aren’t you?

The more I look at Rodney’s Radio & TV blog… the more I’m dreading going over there.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Nana

September 16th, 2011
6:10 pm

Thanks for the info on The Help. I will certainly go see it.

linny ,,,=^..^=,,,

September 16th, 2011
6:10 pm

Nana, i was advised to read the book BEFORE seeing the movie, because it’s actually better, and if you see the movie, it kind of detracts from the book; dunno personally because i haven’t read or seen it.

glad you back, please stay well, ladybug!

Mercedes i sure have missed being able to read your movie reviews — TRYING to get this computer working on a regular basis!

Deirdre, thanks for helping me keep abreast of the news around here; don’t know what i’d do without you and harriett sometimes!! and KPH of course.

hopefully soon i’ll get a new power supply unit and install the new video card and MAYBE it will keep working instead of freezing me out!! IF i can get my son to help me, that is!

too much other reading for me to do to comment on anyone or anything Rodney’s reporting, but hopefully i can get some of that done.

Mercedes S.

September 16th, 2011
9:11 pm

Looked at the Other Blog. It has no personality.

Mercedes S.

September 16th, 2011
9:11 pm

And why bother about radio?

JTesla

September 16th, 2011
9:48 pm

It’s about history… back in the olden days people would gather around a box. That box would replay sounds that it received via the electromagnetic spectrum.

Rodney is all nostalgic about that stuff.

Deirdre

September 16th, 2011
10:16 pm

Totally random I know, but someone sent me this via email. Most of us know or have at least heard of these guys but not very many of us know that they were dancers. One, a comedian famous for entertaining the troops and the other, a dramatic actor famous for his gangster roles. It’s a great video and a reminder that talent is something special:

http://videos2view.net/Hope-Cagney.htm

Rodney Ho

September 17th, 2011
2:52 pm

Mercedes…the two blogs have served two purposes in my mind. The other blog is much more a news site. I don’t expect people to read or comment on everything because the topics are way too disparate.This one was set up as a truly dedicated site to one narrow topic, enabling the creation of what we have here. Melding them will be a challenge.