"I think [Mariah] is going to find it difficult to say no."
Simon, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid hit the TV Critics Association press tour (via satellite from Miami) and dropped insight into the new X Factor, including what Britney and Demi are really like as judges, and what's up with the casting of the hosts.
"I'm happy for her." Simon said of Mariah's Idol casting. "I like Mariah. I think she's going to find it difficult to say no. You've got to say no to people. And she's sweet."
Simon made it clear that his female judge picks, Britney and Demi, will not have the same problem.
"They are harder to please than me or L.A.," Cowell says of Britney and Demi. "They are very happy, these two, in giving people a no. That's why we hired them."
Simon also revealed Britney has always topped his fantasy judge list: "Britney, I'm not going to lie about this, I always said the number one person I would want on one of these shows was Britney because I was fascinated with her as a person, as a pop star…She's a really, really good judge."
"Demi is a brat," Simon continued, "but there's something really likable about her as well. I think the show, because it has such a young audience, it needed someone younger."
That said, let the record show that we are so in for the new season of X Factor. If only to solve this mystery: Is Britney Spears really the hardass "Bad Britney" judge we've seen from Fox's cleverly crafted promo? Or will she be the question-dodging softie we saw in today's press conference?
When asked if she believes the reality competition shows are putting too much emphasis on judges instead of the contestants, Britney paused and replied: "I think it's about the talent."
And where do her musical tastes currently lie? "I'm a huge fan of hip hop. I love rap. I don't know the proper way to rap, I don't rap. I appreciate it. I like cabaret. I love live music. I love bands."
Demi held her own against some tough Q's. When her expertise and knowledge were called into question, she countered: "I think that the expertise I'm able to contribute is I'm listening to the radio right now and I know a lot of what my friends like. We're in our early 20s and late teens and it's a really interesting thing when you bring a much younger demographic into the competition. I think we know what is needed in this industry, what is missing."
As for the search for new hosts, Simon told reporters: "That's the plan, to have a boy and girl. Ideally, we'd like someone who hasn't actually been a host before…[We] are screen-testing people for the next three or four weeks." The new hosts likely will be announced mid-August.