is Britney Spears heading to The X Factor judging panel in season two?!
That was the question on everyone's mind during a conference call with the show's two remaining judges, Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid, who weren't afraid to address the rumors. Other topics tackled included how many hosts the show will have when it returns, if the late Whitney Houston was in talks to join the show, and if they are going to a tribute to her in season two.
So what did Cowell and Reid have to say?
"There's a load of speculation, some true, some not true," Simon explained of the judging rumors. "It's true to say that there a lot of more people have entered the frame this year. We were waiting to see who was going to contact us before we actually contacted people. We're in that place right now, which is a good place to be in. We will meet a number of people over the next few weeks, mainly to explain to them that this is a big commitment when you do a show like this because of the mentoring aspect. I can't confirm or deny any of these rumors at the moment."
As for the possibility of Spears being in contention for the gig, Cowell said, "Are we flattered that there could be interest? Yes." However, don't expect Cowell to comment any further as he said, "While you've got The Voice and Idol competing with each other, I've learned one lesson: Keep your mouth shut. Don't give it all away."
As for the rumors of Houston joining the show before her untimely passing, Reid set the record straight, saying, "We love Whitney and we would have certainly considered it. But the truth is it never came to that. There was an interest there, but we never actually had meetings about it. We didn't really get that far, so I don't think it's proper to comment beyond that."
When asked about the possibility of The X Factor doing a tribute to Whitney when the show returns, Reid said, "I actually think that's a great idea. I was going to recommend that, that we do a Whitney segment because the music is so amazing and it's so generational and such a challenge for singers." While Simon admitted, "I have a feeling, just a hunch, that you may see a Whitney tribute on the Voice and Idol before us," he added, "If we decide to do it, we have to do it in a different way. The important thing is that we are going to continually pay tribute to Whitney on this show."
Though The X Factor auditions begin in two weeks, viewers shouldn't expect to find out the identity of the two new judges before then. "The live auditions you've just spoken about, these are the ones that aren't filmed," Cowell explained. "We probably don't need to confirm the new judges by then. That will happen over the next few weeks."
One thing Cowell and Reid would say for sure? "The only thing you can count on is that we will have two girls," Reid said. "That we can confirm." As for the hosting gig, Cowell confirmed "there will be two" hosts in season two. "I always wanted a boy and a girl to host the show, and I definitely think that's going to happen now."
The other big X Factor news to come out today was finalist Rachel Crow scoring a record deal and a new TV show. "It's incredible," Cowell says of Crow's success, adding that he knew she was destined for greatness. "Along came Nickelodeon, which is such a perfect fit for her. She's one of the most determined people I've met in my life," he gushed. "She's going to be a big star," Reid added.