'The X Factor': Who should take the final seat at the judges' table?
It’s O.K., L.A. Accidents happen. Come give me a hug. While the music producer and confirmed X Factor judge might be in the doghouse with Simon Cowell after revealing that Cheryl Cole will likely join him for the American iteration of The X Factor, we can’t help but thank the record exec for moving this process along. The selection of Cole isn’t too much of a surprise; the former member of British pop group Girls Aloud has been a judge on Cowell’s original version of X Factor in the U.K., and it was largely speculated she’d be joining him for the U.S. version. But who should be the show’s final judge?
Despite her popularity across the pond, and Reid’s impressive resume working with artists like Mariah Carey, Pink, Usher and Kanye West, it’s Cowell who remains the show’s most recognizable face, after nine seasons of warming our hearts on American Idol. As we gear up for the show’s debut this fall, his competition is on the defensive, ramping up their roster of celebrity talent to compete with X Factor: Cowell’s former employer brought in Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler — Idol‘s most high-profile judges to date — while NBC boasts Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as the judges of its new series The Voice. While these reality shows are allegedly about the journey of budding performers, in the early stages of tone-deaf auditions and delusions of grandeur, it’s the judges that often have the biggest draw. So who does Sir Simon need to snag to make X Factor a must watch come fall?
Artists like Taylor Momsen, Nicki Minaj and Lily Allen have been rumored to be on Cowell’s shortlist, which would give the series a younger feel that could cater to younger audiences. Ideally, Cowell would go with more of a music industry vet; someone with experience on stage and in the boardroom, who can provide thoughtful criticism to these aspiring performers (à la Ben Folds on The Sing-Off). Ready for some wild cards? Did Celine Dion’s appearance at the Oscars remind you just how awesome (albeit at times unintelligible) she could be with emerging musical talent? (“You are the best singer in the world!”) Or what about Diddy? The multi-hyphenate made a name for himself grooming rap talents like Notorious B.I.G. and Lil’ Kim before using his own special brand of mentoring tactics (i.e. “Walk to Brooklyn to get me a cheesecake. You’ll be stronger for it.”) in MTV’s Making the Band series. (Commence your fruit throwing now.)
Who would you like to see complete the judges roster on The X Factor? Considering Cowell himself was virtually unknown to audiences back in Idol‘s Dark Ages, does the fame/notoriety of the judges really matter?