I listened in on Simon Cowell’s conference call, tonight. Check out this complete transcript. Some interesting stuff here…
Will a girl win this year? It depends what she’s like We’ve had a few years of guys winning the show and I would say there is a better chance of a girl winning this year than last. You want somebody who represents what’s going on at the moment, I’d love to find a taylor swift, somebody who is relevant, rather than just a contest winner.
How often are you overruled by the other judges? This was a difficult one because it all happened so quickly. In hindsight it would have been much easier but it couldn’t happen this way, of having 5 or six days to really review the performances but we had a limited time and we made decisions relatively quickly and then when you watch it back, you think, I could have made different decisions here.
This happens on the shows I do in other countries. There’s always the moment where you look at something and think I’ve made a decision, but I’ve got to live with that. You know, luckily, they can always audition another year.
On disqualified contestant, Chris Golightly, I remember Chris’s first audition, because Kara was absolutely and completely besotted with him. I wasn’t quite so keen on him, then the second time we saw him, he wasn’t as strong as he was on his first audition. I really don’t have a clue why he’s been removed from the competition; I’m guessing it’s some sort of technical reason. But it’s a shame for him, he needed this opportunity.
Can Chris audition for X Factor? Well, I’ve got to find out what the reason was [why he was DQ'd] first, if it was something like a technical reason, well then of course he could.
Who would he like to see mentor? I think we should have Lady Gaga because she’s is the most relevant pop artist in the world at the moment. I think she should be #1. And I’ve met her. I think she’s very smart. I like her.
Some hopefuls have less than Hollywood looks, How do balance what’s good for the TV show vs what’s good for the industry? The reason we put a variety of people through is primarily on talent and interest in them as people. If you pick everybody because they look the way you think they should look, it happened a few years ago, every blond girl in the competition looked identical, and I couldn’t tell one from another. I think it’s important that you can recognize talent, personalities, I think it’s good we have a mixed bag this year.
Is he moved by sob stories? Not really, not on me, I’ve heard so many of them over the years. It’s about remembering people. Part of the problem when you do the show, from the auditions to the Hollywood rounds, is that most people you can’t remember, if you can remember somebody it’s a good place to start
On General Larry Platt, It’s an interesting thing, because when he came on the show the reasons why on X Factor we didn’t put an age cap on the show because I always found these older contestants really funny, interesting, whether it’s him, or whether its somebody like Susan Boyle. So I’ve got to tell you, for him, I’m absolutely thrilled that all this has happened for him, because he needs the break. I’m glad it’s worked out well.
What advice does Simon have for the hopefuls? I think you’ve got to be original, I remember David Cook. The reason he did so well, and he suddenly came into the front when he competed, was that he managed to find interesting versions of well known songs and did them in his style. I remember the first time he performed Lionel Richie’s song, “Hello” and turned it into a rock song, or when he found the Chris Cornell version of “Billie Jean”, He was smart, and I would say the same thing to these two contestants—don’t always do the obvious, try to find something which is more unique and interesting to you. And suck up to me, that always helps.
On the stories about he and Ellen not getting along, I wouldn’t say that we didn’t get on well, I don’t know Ellen that well. It was a difficult position for her, because she started work on the Hollywood week, which is a quite difficult show to do. There was one story I read that I turned up an hour late for something, and that she wanted to film. The truth was that I turned up 15 to 20 minutes late because I did a press conference earlier in the day and they did start filming, but that wasn’t a particular problem. But there was no fallout, I was trying to guide her through the week, and that was about it, really
Why Ellen was a good choice, I think Ellen was a good choice, she actually is responsible for the people she has performing on her own show. I know that for a fact, because I’ve dealt with her as a record label. And she loves music and she’s been an artist. It wasn’t meant to dis her credentials, it was specifically talking about my replacement, because my role on the show is somebody who has run a successful record label.
On missing Paula, Well, Paula is my friend. Amazing, even though we used to argue a lot, she was somebody I just got very close to over the years. We used to hang out before the show. She always made me laugh, I thought she was funny. It was just like not having your friend on the show anymore. I do miss her.
Will Simon stay in the Drivers seat this season? It’s always frustrating on an edited show that’s why I prefer to do live TV. What I always do when I do these live shows is not go in with any preconceived idea of what it’s going to be like, or what people are going to be like, be in the moment, and do what I’ve always done in my career, which is to hopefully make the right decisions, and if that means disagreeing with people, I don’t have a problem with that, I never have done. But you’re there to be honest, truthful and hopefully give constructive advice. But most importantly, say what you think people at home are thinking.
Will he give the reigns over this year? That would be impossible. I’ll keep to my feet, I’ll hopefully be the last one to speak, it’s always easier to be the last one, rather than the first one. I think I want to go out on a high. I’ve said this over and over again, it’s my last season, I want it to be successful, I’ll do everything I can to make it happen.
What would the person who replaces you need to have? Well You’ve got to be good looking (ha) second, you’ve got to know what you’re talking about. More and more now I’m starting to realize with these shows, now you have to put people on the shows who know what they’re talking about rather than guessing, they’ve really got to have experience, so you don’t just criticize, but offer constructive advice as well.
I know Howard’s name has been in there for awhile, but I’m fairly certain there hasn’t been an approach at any time for Howard to do the show. Perez would be funny he’s got a good taste in music, he’s a personality, that could work.
Does his replacement need to have musical experience? I think it’s really important. It’s interesting when we first started we had a record producer, an artist and an A&R man, you’ve covered pretty much everything you need to do. I would say somebody who has managerial experience is always very helpful. But in simplistic terms, it’s like if you judge the ice skating at the Olympics, if you’re going to give a score you need to genuinely know what you are talking about. And I think over the years judges have been replaced by personalities that in the long term will create problems, because you’ve got to be able to spot a star. So, whoever replaces me, my advice has always been find somebody who actually knows what they’re talking about and has actually experienced success in the music business.
Does Howard Stern qualify? He doesn’t seem to fit any of those criteria. He’s played records. Maybe that’s a good qualification, he’s a DJ. He obviously wants the job, good luck to him.
On people saying Simon can’t be replaced, It’s very very flattering, and I really do appreciate it, but like I said before, the show goes on, and I’m going to feel sad when it all ends . It’s much nicer to be popular than unpopular, so I do appreciate it.
Has anybody contacted him personally, and who is Simon’s dream replacement? You’re never going to pick anyone as good as you, are you? So, that’s why I don’t think anybody really asks me that question. I could give general advice. I think the important thing is what I said earlier on…you see people put in a role to play a certain role, which has become quite tiresome. You know when people always describe that person as the “mean judge” or whatever it is. You’ve just got to find somebody who can actually make a difference to the contestants, whose not afraid to speak their mind, who is prepared to be honest and occasionally blunt, but not to be gratuitously rude, I’m really getting tired of all that now.
Ok look, there’s a lot of people who want the job, and I think Ironically, it’s going to help next season, because I think there’s going to be a lot of interest in who replaces me. Who could really do it? If I really knew the answer to that question, I wouldn’t tell you. I’ve only had a couple of calls, but they were quite boring people and never stood a chance. They’ll be contacting FOX if they really want this job. Or do what Howard’s been doing which is basically talking about it on his show. I think it’s brilliant.
The good news is there’s no shortage of candidates. The hardest thing finding a replacement is that when you hear people’s names like Madonna—it will never happen. You’ve got to give a massive, massive time commitment. That’s always been the problem when you’re trying to find people to do these shows. You’ve got to find people prepared to give out that much time.
Does his replacement need to be British? This person specifically has got to have a lot of experience in the music business. It is the most important thing, and that’s what I think will happen, they’ll find somebody who’s got that kind of experience, whether as a manager, artist or like me, and A&R, it’ll be somebody like that.