What you might not know about The X Factor is that unlike American Idol, this upcoming Fox series shows "everything" behind the scenes. At least that's the word from überproducer/resident cranky pants Simon Cowell, who tackled Q's from reporters today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, along with Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and the rest of the show's cast and crew.
We got our first glimpse of some of that candor as Simon addressed rumors Mariah Carey might be a part of X Factor, what really happened with ousted judge Cheryl Cole and more. So is Mariah coming on?
Sure sounds like it. According to Simon, he wanted Mariah to be a judge, but now she'll appear in a different way. "There's certain sections on the show where we do have well known people helping us on the show," Simon explains. "I talked to her the other day, and she's been enthusiastic since day one. But then she selfishly got pregnant which is why she didn't end up as a judge."
When asked if Cheryl Cole was let go from the show because she didn't get along with Paula, Simon told the press: "If it was a question of not getting along with Paula then I wouldn't be on the show." He explained: We felt that Cheryl was going to be more comfortable to do the U.K. show, which I offered her, and initially she accepted but then things fell apart in negotiations…I thought Cheryl returning back to the U.K. would have been a big headline, good for the show over there, good for her." He adds that having (replacement judge) Nicole Scherzinger has been "a revelation."
According to Paula, working again with Simon is like coming home, albeit one that is "dysfunctional." She also insists that "Simon is a completely different species on this show. He's turned into me. He's turned into a pussycat. It's very sweet."
Simon's explanation: "When you get to edit it you'd be surprised how good you look and how bad other people look."
From the X Factor promo reel shown to critics, it's clear that you will see much more of what really goes down behind the scenes compared to the other big-name singing competition shows. According to Simon, even he doesn't know where some of the hidden cameras are. "We're going to show the good bits, the bad bits, the ugly bits. There are lots of ugly bits."
And he's convinced X Factor can beat Idol. "You don't enter something for the silver metal, you want to be number one. And for the next few months we're going to throw everything we have at it."
The X Factor begins Sept. 21 with auditions.