Simon Cowell On Elimination Mistakes, Which X Factor Team is the Strongest, Will There Be A Wildcard and More

I just finished a telephone conference call with Simon Cowell of the X Factor.  Simon spoke about how this week’s rounds will work, who he thinks was eliminated mistakenly,  on the role of the co-hosts, which groups/contestants he thinks will be stronger, on whether there will be a wildcard and more. Here are the highlights:

  • Britney as a judge – “I think she’s been a lot better than everybody thought. She’s been very engaged. She’s very into her contestants. She thinks she can win.” However, Simon is admitting that he doesn’t know how she’ll be once the show goes live. “I don’t know how she’s going to cope.” But he thinks she’s very excited for what’s to come.
  • On which group is the strongest:  “The groups are a million times better than last year.” says Simon. “Some of them I can really really see have a big career.” He feels one group in particular–which he didn’t name–will be “off the charts” when they perform tomorrow.  He thinks Britney has a good category (Teens)  and is his biggest competitor  “Her contestants will be popular,” he says.  Demi  also has a good category. Simon is especially bullish on Janell Garcia.  Simon quipped that LA’s Over 25 category has “no chance whatsoever.”
  • The Top 16 will perform on Wednesday. The contestants who aren’t safe will have to sing off against each other. A number of contestants will be eliminated. The judges will vote to decide who stays and who goes. Simon did NOT want to reveal specific numbers, because he did not want to ruin the element of surprise. The remaining contestants will sing next week for the public’s vote.
  •  I asked Simon if there would be a wild card this season. He said his gut feeling was no, because the 16 contestants who made the cut are really strong and there’s nobody who was cut that he feels as strongly about as winner Melanie Amaro, who was brought back to Simon’s team as a 17th contestant.
  • That’s not to say he doesn’t think there were any mistakes made in the Judges Houses round.  Simon feels letting go of fan favorite, Jeffrey Gutt at the Boot Camp stage was a mistake, he was “probably better” than some of the contestants who were chosen.  However, although there was backlash when Jillian Jensen was eliminated, he understands why she was eliminated. “It was all getting a little bit too gloomy,” says Simon, “You have to choose people who can be entertainers.” He admires Demi for making that decision despite how attached she was to her.
  • There will be some sort of Hurricanee Sandy shout out on Wednesday’s show – Simon couldn’t care less what effect the hurricane has on the ratings. What’s important is that everyone on the east coast is safe. He quipped that he doesn’t understand why hurricanes are given friendly names. Thinks there should be a petition to stop that. Perhaps FOX will repeat the show for fans who have lost power due to the storm.
  • On the quirky rules TMZ reported –   Simon feigned total ignorance of the rules and thought the “no biting” rule was especially amusing. “I think there was a lot of biting last year,” he says.  When you rent a house from people you get some “mad rules.”  Simon says, “No diving in the pool? They are all going to break that rule.” and then, ” They’ll all be biting each other in the pool.”  The no guests allowed in te rooms rule has to do with keeping the contestants focused on the competition.  They’re kept all in one place because it’s easier to mentor them when they are all together.  Eventually, Simon feels, “they will all end up getting on each other’s nerves.  “After they leave the competition they can bite each other as much as they want.”
  • Is Khloe Kardashian nervous to host?  Simon pointed out that she’s got one day’s less rehearsal due to the show being pushed up to Wednesday.  “She’s got to have nerves of steel when she goes in there tomorrow. ”  Simon adds, “We could have recorded it, but that would have been boring. I like seeing people under pressure.”  She’s got great chemistry with Mario, according to Simon.
  •  Simon initially told the press that he wanted two inexperienced host to helm the show, but the network thought that strategy was too risky.   A lot of people tested for the job and Mario, an experienced host, was always up there as one of the top candidates.
  • Khloe has had her doubters and she  wants to prove that she’s capable of doing the job. Simon says she really has a “fun personality” and that she “gets her role.”  She’s there to be the “voice of the contestants.”  She speaks her mind, and Simon likes that. Also, he wants the hosts to also be a fan. “They’re there to have opinions. Last year, the host didn’t have opinions,” says Simon. Khloe and Mario are entitled to have their favorites and to stick up for the contestants if they feel they are being treated unfairly.
  • The hosts are there to back each other up. One may be backstage to interview the contestants. Simon feels it will make each host braver to think they have a backup.  Simon likes the idea of two hosts because he felt it worked really well when they did it on Pop Idol so many years ago.
  • Simon says when it comes to the live shows it’s 90 percent about the contestants. It’s important for viewers to believe they can watch someone who will become a star.  Simon wants Britney to perform on the final. He thinks she will.
  • Groups have a hard time because it takes time for the public to get to know contestants. Groups don’t come in with the same level of sob stories as individuals. Sister C comes across as arrogant. He tells them if people don’t’ like them they won’t last long. They have to show who they really are. As singers they are really really good.
  • Mentoring is harder than judging “It can be a nightmare. When something goes wrong, you have to take the brunt. Anyone can judge, to be honest with you.” Simon was especially unhappy when Drew was eliminated after he chose “a stupid song” for her,  “It’s embarrassing on the night when you’ve got it wrong.”  Simon chooses a song that he feels his contestant could release as a single.
  • Trying to prepare the younger ones for rejection? “I’m sure Britney has mentioned it. It’s heartbreaking when you lose.”  Simon says Rachel Crow broke down last year when she was eliminated last year because she truly believed she would win.  Astro was just being “a brat” when he had his meltdown. He was fine afterward.  Simon really does not want to mess with any possibility for drama.
About mj santilli 33895 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!