L.A. Reid — music mogul, X Factor judge, and coach of the Boys category for Fox’s U.S. spinoff of Simon Cowell’s British competition series — talked to reporters today about why he’s looking forward to mentoring Brian “Astro” Bradley, Phillip Lomax, Marcus Canty, and Chris Rene. “It was tough to choose only four,” he said. “What would have been simple is if I could have had five. But I’m not Simon.” (Cowell ended up flying all the way to Miami to pick up a fifth team member for the Girls, 19-year-old Melanie Amaro. “I thought she was fantastic,” Reid says about Amaro.)
Fifteen-year-old rapper Astro could be polarizing to viewers with his sense of entitlement. Is this kid the real deal? “We’ll have to see,” says Reid. “He’s quite popular on YouTube, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. I really like him, by the way,” he continues, pointing out that even though his comments on Brian Bradley have gone back and forth, that’s just him doing his job. “I also voiced my concerns to superstars, like Mariah Carey,” he said. “Ultimately it’s going to be up to the public.”
Reid’s also excited about Chris Rene. “[He’s] the most popular contestant in the competition,” said Reid. “He’s somewhere between a singer and almost like a singing rapper. He really just has to find the right material and nail it.” As for whether the judges/coaches will actually intervene to help make sure the drug-and-alcohol addict is staying clean, Reid said their policy so far will be to leave him alone. “Chris gave us his word that he’d stay straight, and I’ll take him at his word,” he said.
As for Phillip Lomax? “For a guy to be 22 years old and be so influenced by an era of Frank Sinatra and others, he has a great shot,” said Reid. “And all I need to tell you is that Marcus [Canty, 20] is a great singer. Ultimately I’m just moved by his talent.”
On disappointment that the show doesn’t have 20 million viewers, as Simon predicted: “The fact of the matter is that we have a very successful show, with an average of over 12 million viewers. I’d like to hit 30. I’d like to sweep it. But that’s not really important to me. That’s an aspirational statement Simon put out.”
On Simon’s selection of The Girls: “I would have made some different choices.”
On Dexter Haygood advancing instead of worthy singers Elaine Gibbs or Tiger Budbill in the Over 30s: “I respect Nicole’s decision to put Dexter through. He’s clearly an artist. I would say it’s not so much a focus on spectacle. It’s more like giving someone an opportunity to rebound.
On how L.A.’s buddy Justin Bieber might react to Drew Ryniewicz, 14: “The thing is, I love Drew. I haven’t spoken to Justin about Drew at all. I think she’s really a contender here. Justin is a good sport and takes it all in the right spirit. He doesn’t take it seriously when someone says they want to beat him.”
On whether he workshops his L.A. Reid Seated Dance Moves ahead of time:
“I don’t see a camera. I don’t do anything for the camera. I have no concern for the camera.”