Simon Cowell on America’s Got Talent, X Factor and NOT Watching American Idol

Simon Cowell recently spoke with the Associated press about the new season of America’s Got Talent, which premieres on NBC Tuesday at 9/8c pm. He also dished a little bit about the third season of X Factor, set to begin in September.

After Sharon Osbourne departed the panel at the end of last season (over a flap with NBC regarding her son) Simon not only replaced her, but expanded the panel to include Heidi Klum and Melanie Brown.

“The new panel has jelled very well. There’s really good chemistry with the judges and the host (Nick Cannon),” he said. He also sang the praises of the series’ new producer, Sam Donnelly. “She’s totally revitalized the American show. It’s by far the best we’ve done.”

And on Season 3 of X Factor Simon says he felt confident after last week’s Charleston Auditions:

“If you’d asked me that question even a month ago,” Cowell replied, “I would have said I honestly don’t know.” But recent auditions in Charleston, S.C., were “by far the best two days we’ve shot” since the series began, he declared.

“It suddenly just clicked. And there’s one audition in particular that’s probably one of my favorites that I’ve ever been involved in – a one-in-10-million audition. I can’t stop thinking about it.

The talent is the least of X Factor’s problems. Horribly produced performances and a stiff judges’ panel were the issues. We’ll see if Simon got it right this time.

And Simon confesses that he didn’t watch a minute of American Idol this season:

“Not my problem anymore,” he chuckled when asked to diagnose what is plaguing “Idol.”

“It’s so much in my past now,” he said. “I deliberately this year didn’t watch a single second of the show.”

He also agrees that there are too many singing competition shows out there, but is challenged by the competition, “”But funnily enough, that doesn’t bother me. It makes you more focused.”

We’ll be covering America’s Got Talent right here on the blog, so stay tuned!

Via The Associated Press

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  • xboxmas

    Sure Simon LOL.

  • Leo Ridela

    I agree that a lack of talent was never the issue with X-Factor. I think all the pre-live show stuff was really good and exciting, but once the live shows started, it all went to hell.

    They need a more consistent schedule (all those baseball interruptions lost a lot of viewers), a panel with chemistry who will actually engage with each other and provide articulate critiques, and they also need to provide honest critiques to EVERYONE and not try to throw people they don’t have on their team under the bus (because that rubs people the wrong way). They also need to work up to full blown performances with all the props and the dancers, not just throw that at the contestants at the start because if not it just comes off so amateur.

    Better song choices, and having the contestants be more involved in picking those songs needs to happen as well.

    Also, no more rankings. I think that really killed the excitement of the show.

  • Wfish88

    Last year, it’s like they didn’t even test Britney to see if she could even put words into a sentence- because if they did- they wouldn’t have hired her. Season 1, Simon promised a “Big” panel… Instead we got Paula & Nicole. This year, he’s playing it safe with “celebs” who’ve judged before. Bad additions to the judging panel for AGT IMO… It’s biggest turn-off for me tho is its Live Show format.

  • lkingcorn

    Simon can be as smug as he wants about Idol. If not for Idol no one in the US would have a clue who he is.

  • Ellensue

    Simon, Your XFactor show is terrible. Should have stayed with Idol. Too many singing competitions???Yeah, well who’s fault is that? YOURS

  • Ronnie D

    Im actually excited about X-Factor 3! Hopefully Simon can put his money where his mouth is and give us a good show!

  • MV007

    In fairness could you not ask the question whether Idol would have ever reached the dizzying heights it did without Simon?

  • MV007

    At least with the rankings it showed that the producers were trying. I agree that giving the rankings didn’t work and killed the suspense but it was a different approach and I appreciate the effort. I think my biggest issue with the show was the crowd noise. At times it overpowered the singer. With that said, I think spectacle can work. I thought 5H’s “Anything Could Happen” was the seasons best performance and a performance worthy of sending an act to the finals in any of the singing competition shows.

  • Mateja Praznik

    No, it’s not Simon’s fault. He is not forcing Idol or The Voice to stay around, hehe.

  • Ellensue

    My point is that HE is the one who started this whole thing with Idol, then HE left that show to start the X-Factor., etc. The Voice is the best singing competition on now. Why shouldn’t Idol stay around? It’s better than X Factor. I don’t give a darn what Simon thinks, or watches. He should retire anyway. Old fool, trying to be hip!

  • Sunny Mc

    Ooh, Leo that is a good point! The performances should start off simply, and slowly add in the extras.

  • Sunny Mc

    I missed the announcement that Nick Cannon will be host. He’s fine, but I wish Simon was a little daring and hire Jim Cantiello. No one knew who Seacrest was when he got the job.

  • Mateja Praznik

    Simon started X Factor and Got Talent franchises a long time before he left American Idol. He was bound to Idol until the end of season 9 and he wasn’t allowed to bring X Factor over while he was still judging Idol. He was just a hired talent on Idol, what would be the point in staying on the show and judging somebody else’s show when he has two talent show franchises on his own that are a lot more successful than Idol franchise worldwide right now.
    Even without XF USA or Idol judging job he would be a very busy man.

    The Voice is the youngest franchise of all 4. I don’t think it’s the best singing competition right now. It’s better than Idol (anything would be better than the old dinosaur), but not X Factor.

  • Sassycatz

    Hasn’t Nick Cannon been the host of AGT for a while now? (Maybe from the beginning, I don’t know.)

  • MV007

    I love Cantiello but his approach is tailor made for the internet. It’s snarky and a little bit nerdy. I think if he was on TV a lot of his stuff would go over the heads of the audience.

  • Sassycatz

    The point is, he has helped to create the over saturation of these singing shows on American TV which clearly were unnecessary. With The Voice going all year round and The US X-Factor running in the fall, it’s too much and, since Simon’s so busy and his show hasn’t achieved dominance over US television, as he predicted, I think it’s pretty expendable.

  • Ellensue

    X-Factor winner Melanie (what’s her face) has not yet put out an album. She had one song that was a FLOP. They gave her 5 million dollars? Is that a success story? NOT

  • Sassycatz

    Sure. Simon wasn’t a known quantity in the US before AI began. They could’ve gotten any sharp tongued Brit. After all, wasn’t Nigel the one who originated that role in the UK and does a pretty good job of it on his dancing show. Since then, we’ve seen other versions, like Piers Morgan. So, no it didn’t *have* to be Simon. Any similarly talented Brit would’ve done, I guess.

  • MV007

    I guess I disagree. Simon wasn’t just great because he was mean and had an accent. He said what the audience was thinking in an amusing way. There isn’t another judge on any of these shows that has been able to replicate that. We can quibble over how he has coasted for seasons at a time but when he was engaged, his opinion has been the only thing that mattered. Remember when it meant something when Simon would give a standing O?

  • Incipit

    “… wasn’t Nigel the one who originated that role in the UK ?”

    Yes, he was, Sassycatz. Folks could Google “Nasty Nigel” – he was the original Mean Brit – and he then handed the ‘Mean Brit Trope’ over to Cowell when he was hired for Idol in the US. Other shows have their “sharp tongued Brit” too. It’s an institution, at this point. Heh. As you say – they could have gotten anyone to play the part.

    Also. Some of the confusion I see arises from shared first names, I think – Simon FULLER is the one who did the creating on American Idol….look it up? Simon COWELL was a hired gun on that show – and Nigel gave him the ammo to create that judge character from. IDK for sure ‘who’ paid Cowell’s insult and quip writer, but he named the guy in an interview.

  • curly_yenta

    American Idol was over when Simon left. He was the show.

  • LA944

    Maybe Idol should hire Hugh Grant. He’s a sharp tongued Brit and he doesn’t need writers. He’s very bright and witty–and very snarky. He’d be a great judge. I’m serious. Plus, didn’t he appear in a movie making fun of these kind of shows?

  • vd88

    He has been the host for a couple of seasons now, not since the beginning but he’s pretty good at hosting though.

  • Sassycatz

    Nigel could’ve done the same thing from the get-go and you wouldn’t have known the difference. Do you ever follow him on twitter? The guy ain’t shy about calling people out!

    And, by the way, I don’t think Simon Cowell always expressed the audience was thinking. What about the times when he made “vaguely” racist comments, like “bush baby” or when he would call women contestants fat or suggest that they didn’t know how to dress even though their vocals were exemplary, while not doing the same to male contestants. I don’t really think Simon *is* racist, but I do think he’s sexist!

  • Bug Menot

    I bet he hasn’t watched a single second of Melanie Amaro performing this year either…”Not my problem anymore.”

  • vamp111

    Actually, the contestants are the show. Plus the ratings went UP in Season 10 after he left.

  • vamp111

    It’s better than Idol (anything would be better than the old dinosaur),

    The “dinosaur” that actually still has the best talent AND actually produces stars after the show is over. Where is Melanie Amaro today? Or Javier? Or Jermaine? Tate’s single isn’t doing good. In comparison, look where Scotty and Phillip are today.

    Plus Idol still kicks the X Factor’s ass in ratings :) And until this season, it was kicking The Voice’s ass in ratings(and the Voice keeps dropping every week).

  • vamp111

    I think Simon expected Idol to end in Season 10 after he left and that the X Factor would just take over and be the lone singing show. Little did he know that The Voice would come around AND that idol would survive without him :)

  • Miz

    He’s been the host since 2009. Before him was Regis Philbin and Jerry Springer. Nick is a good host.

  • Kariann Hart

    I really don’t value Simon’s opinion on much of anything. He would be the last person to say, “American Idol” had a great season – especially Season 10 (or thereafter).

  • Jon Glass

    I don’t think X Factor is terrible. I love it. Get ready for soon to be released music from Fifth Harmony. :) Emblem 3 are doing well. Joining Selena Gomez’ tour. exciting.

  • Jon Glass

    The two seasons of X Factor had INCREDIBLE talent on it. I love the judges homes rounds.

  • Karen C

    American Idol is hardly a dinosaur when even last year, they found someone that went 4x platinum, and several others who have also been successful. I believe there is something about the Idol format that works best in the US. The problem this year was that they didn’t stick to what works.

  • Mateja Praznik

    Yes, American Idol is a dinosaur. TPTB have been coasting on the show’s past success for way too long and let a mountain of problems to accumulate over time. And now, with so many alternatives (X Factor, The Voice), the viewers are leaving the old giant in droves and TPTB are still too scared to change the old formula. They’ve been promising big changes for years and nothing changes.

  • springboard2

    Viewers are not leaving Idol for the X Factor since they are leaving the X Factor just as much even though it has never really taken off. Timing wise, they are not competing either.
    The Voice is definitely a direct competitor though.

  • Karen C

    Fans didn’t leave in droves until this year, when they manipulated and changed the formula. Up through last year, the show did get better ratings and had a very successful winner.

  • Mateja Praznik

    Change the formula? A few cosmetic changes can hardly be considered “formula changing”. Cosmetic changes don’t change anything.

  • Not fit to print

    I love Hugh but unless he has a musical background I’m not in favour. He is very witty and sharp-tongued, though. There has to be a sarcastic Brit out there who knows their music.

  • Not fit to print

    Idol should hire Cantiello and Slezak to sit in the audience like the two old guys on Sesame Street and offer their opinions live a couple of times during the show. Slezak would be a smooth and funny complement to Jim’s manic humour. Main thing: both of them actually love the show.

  • Not fit to print

    FOX probably expected X Faxtor to take off, too. They knew Idol’s decline was inevitable and probably thought X Factor could build to a decent replacement. Not a bad plan but NBC had plans, too.

  • Mateja Praznik

    LOL. The Voice franchise started in 2010 in Holland. I’m sure Simon expected it to come to America, eventually. Just not before the X Factor.

    Not that he really cares. He wants to produce good shows, competition is not what he cares about.

  • maymay

    Simon was not the key for huge ratings. American Idol had huge ratings for 10 years because there were not other singing shows. If Voice and X Factor had aired before Idol Season 6, Idol could never have stayed huge ratings. That is now why Voice and X Factor can`t copy Idol`s success. Too many singing shows!

    American Idol was lucky enough not to face the singing shows war before season 11.

  • iani

    Actually, the contestants are the show.

    This is true, the contestants are the show, Simon was the trademark of the show. AI is lacking now something to be associated with, if TV has “the judges’ chemistry and red chairs”, I think right now AI, XF don’t have a brand, marketable-words.

  • irockhard

    TV starting airing during AI10 and XFUS just a few months later.

    And Idol’s ratings started dropping after S5.

    Competition is a factor but it’s not the only factor and I’d even go as far to say that it’s not even the biggest factor. The biggest factor is that Idol is old, followed by the fact the less and less people watch network tv (with the exception of sports) every year.

  • Kirsten

    Not that he really cares. He wants to produce good shows, competition is not what he cares about.

    Simon is all about the competition. Dude would try to win candy from a baby.

    He is just getting is a$$ kicked, so he’s pretending he doesn’t care. If X-Factor was the top dog, he’d be crowing it from every rooftop in America. Lest we forget those introductory commercials during X-Factors first season:

  • MV007

    I’ve seen Nigel on SYTYCD and I think he’s a really good judge but neither I nor you know how good would be at judging musical ability. And you keep bringing up this ability to call people out. This is one attribute that made Simon a good judge. But in my initial response it wasn’t one I gave a ton of weight too. What Simon did better than others was give concise, funny, articulate responses that the audience to a large degree agreed with. And I never meant to imply that Simon was perfect and said the right thing every single time. My overall point was that Simon gave critiques that a large portion of the audience agreed with far more often then not.

  • Ajax Youth Academy

    When Emblem 3 made it as far as they did how can you truly say that “a lack of talent” was never the issue with X-Factor?