Tag Archives: Simon Cowell

Kelly Rowland Talks ‘X Factor,’ Says She’ll Always Be Supportive of Simon Cowell

x factor 2013

Rubio, Lovato, Rowland, Cowell

Journalists on hand for last month’s “X Factor” panel during the Television Critics Association press tour saw Simon Cowell’s female posse of judges – Kelly Rowland, Demi Lovato and Paulina Rubio — spring to his defense when questions turned to the scandal involving Cowell fathering a baby by his former best friend’s wife.   Their protectiveness was almost family-like, Rowland agrees.

“I never thought I would say this, but I pretty much think Simon is a cool guy.  I’m just – I don’t know anything in detail, but I’m always going to be supportive of him,” she tells us.  “I mean, we’re friends, so I would tell him if I thought anything else.  Our bond is really interesting because it happened so fast.”

The one-time Destiny’s Child member is even more gung-ho about Demi and Paulina.  “I’m just sure Demi has been here on this earth before.  We probably talk every other day — myself and Demi.  I just adore her, and I knew it as soon as we started talking.  I don’t know if it’s Texas that binds us together, or just the fact we’re two southern girls singing.”  And of the hot Mexican songstress Rubio, she says, “The fact that she has this adorable little boy is so wonderful.  He’s so cute.  We had the chance to all hang out.  She brings him sometimes.  She’s a nice balance for the rest of us.  Everybody’s personalities fit.  We’re just having fun, that’s all we’re doing.”

Rowland has been flying back and forth between “X Factor” auditions and her own performing dates, juggling her schedule and “just glad it’s all working out.”  She doesn’t have the Summer Jam 2013 tour to think about, though.  A couple of weeks after Chris Brown dropped out of the tour at the eleventh hour, it was canceled last week amid reports of slow ticket sales.

“You know what, as far as that’s concerned, I’d rather not speak on it because that all didn’t end well and I’m just going to be very professional and not talk about it,” says Rowland.  “I definitely wanted to do it, but between everybody not having everything together, it didn’t work out for my benefit and my team’s.  And it didn’t happen.”

kelly rowland closeBut she has plenty on her plate.  Not only is there “X Factor,” there’s also a follow-up to her 2011 collaboration with trainer Jeanette Jenkins, “Hollywood Trainer: Sexy Abs with Kelly Rowland.”  The new DVD, called ”Sexy Abs: Cardio Sculpt,” is due in October.

“Jeanette choreographed this great, great workout — I’m tired when I’m finished, but it’s one of the best things I’ve done since I started working out with her,” Rowland declares.  But it’s not just her abs; many envy Rowland’s toned and defined arms.

“I think anyone can have – I call them Michelle Obama arms.  She’s actually my inspiration,” says the singer with a laugh.

In fact, Rowland is out in L.A. having meetings on a number of work prospects – including more acting roles.  She would love more film and TV opportunities.  “X Factor” will certainly be getting her out in front of the public eye when the show has its two-night, three-hour season premiere Sept. 11 and 12.

Having already served as a judge for the British version of “X Factor,” Rowland is already well acquainted with what she considers the most difficult part of the judging job:  having to let favorite aspiring talents go.

“That was the hardest, hardest thing.  The hardest moment for me – it was over in the U.K.  I had the girls’ category and I had to pick between two of my girls and they were both so incredible.  I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh, my God.  I don’t want to make this decision.’   You don’t want to have to choose between your contestants, but sometimes you have to,” she notes.  “You find you have to think like an executive and ask the questions.  Who is going to work hard?  Who seems the most hungry for it?  You know what I mean?”

According to her, “The contestants this year are really strong.  We have about seven — at least– true stars.  Ones you kind of gawk over and lose your breath over.”

We’ll see.

 

Nicole Scherzinger in ‘Awesome New Chapter of Life’

Nicole Scherzinger NBC photo

Pop siren Nicole Scherzinger is getting a special kick out of fashion mags and websites following her as a trendsetter these days.  “For a long time, people only saw me as a tacky Pussycat Doll who only wore leopard print,” she candidly points out.  “Once people have a certain view in their minds, it’s kind of hard to get past that.  Wearing ladylilke clothes I love and feel good in — to get positive response from that is really fun.  I have a great team of stylists.”

Her attention in the fashion world is just one indication that Scherzinger is at the top of the celebrity hot list right now.  There’s also her first solo album, “Killer Love” coming out this fall, generating heat — and her latest reality role as an “X Factor” judge alongside Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and L.A. Reid.  The Fox show debuts Sept. 21, but she’s already judged competitors in six cities and gone through a grueling “boot camp” experience.  Contestants faced a series of tough challenges — and more than 125 were eliminated in just five days.

“That was the hardest part — letting people go,” says Nicole.   

She had her “X Factor” baptism as a guest judge on the U.K. version of the show.  “I wasn’t able to say ‘No.’  I’d say, ‘It’s not a ‘No,’ it’s just a ‘not now.’  I empathized with all the peformers,” she recalls.  She’s saying “No” now, though Nicole says she still feels empathetic. 

“For me, what has probably been the biggest surprise is that I’ve become more outspoken, that I speak my mind, that I’ve come out of my shell in that way.  I don’t know if it’s Simon’s dark side rubbing off on me or what,” she says with a laugh, “but it’s there.  There’s no acting,, none of that.  There’s no, ‘So-and-so has this role.’  It’s real people, real emotions — that energy.  Simon is very good about that.”

The influence might have been a two-way street.  A few weeks ago, Paula Abdul made the remark that notoriously caustic Simon was “turning into me,” which people found a tad confusing.  Nicole elaborates that “We felt that we were rubbing off on him, that he was coming more from his heart.”   

She also notes, “The thing about Simon, working with him — in the beginning, they don’t tell you anything.  They just throw you in the deep and it’s sink or swim.  The one thing he does say is, ‘Just be yourself.  Don’t hold back.’ You are then inspired to sort of match his level.”

Scherzinger has come a long way.  She gets kudos for hard work, with a past that includes winning a season of “Dancing With the Stars,” serving as a judge on “The Sing-Off” and doing an early career stint with the girl group Eden’s Crush.  “This is an awesome new chapter of my life,” she tells us. “It feels like the stars are lining up.”

Fox’s Biggest Bets for Fall: Simon Cowell and Dinosaurs

Simon Cowell

Fox President Kevin Reilly pretty much spelled out the importance of Simon Cowell’s “X Factor” to the network, saying the network had built its fall schedule around the competition that will take up two and a half hours of weekly prime time real estate on the schedule. 

The “X Factor” TCA panel certainly attested to interest in the new show, with a packed Beverly Hilton ballroom that even included Chef Gordon Ramsay.  The main course at an earlier session. the chef stuck around to watch Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and the rest of the live ”X Factor” panel – and Cowell, who was present via live video hookup.  We happened to be next to the Chef as he responded with a laugh here, a comment under his breath there, clearly into the whole “X Factor”-Cowell oeuvre.  Reilly  referred to Cowell as having a “dark charm” that’s irresistible.  That could describe the chef as well.            

 The panel gave a taste of the all-too-familiar Abdul on the highwire feeling, as her statements meandered.  Would she make sense?  Or fall?  Abdul told the assembled writers that “Simon is turning into me,” for example.  Say what?  She meant he’s a “pussycat” on the new show.  Time will tell.

ALSO:  Another Fox gamble is the modern family-in-prehistoric-times “Terra Nova,” with a producing team that includes “24’s” Brannon Braga — and has Steven Spielberg’s imprimatur.  Many questions had to do with the special effects dinosaurs that inhabit this hostile environment, and whether the “Terra Nova” team could get the episodes finished in time.  Producers were quick to insist they’re going to make it – even though they allowed that there was a “learning curve” for the innovative motion capture photography and CGI techniques being used on the show.  However,  the family at the center of the series has to be relatable, stressed  Executive Producer Jose Molina.  “If the audience doesn’t care about them, it doesn’t matter how great the dinosaurs look.”

Simon Cowell’s ‘X Factor’ Will Compete in Different TV Landscape Than Anticipated

Simon Cowell

When Simon Cowell announced his intention to depart “American Idol” at the beginning of last year, the move was applauded as shrewd.   Now, maybe not so much.

The show was looking weary indeed after all the Paula Abdul drama, and he was off to fresh pastures before it completely jumped the shark, it was believed.  His U.S. version of “X Factor” might be just the thing to fill the void if and when “Idol” went kaput.

“X Factor” is different from “Idol,” as he explained to press during that January’s Television Critics Association tour, because it has no age limit and can be solo or group singers — and each judge takes a group of contestants under their wing and mentors them in everything from styling and choreography to song choice. “So essentially the judge is judged as well as the singer.”

How different the picture looks now, even as “X Factor” auditons are taking place across the land and new show announcements are flying.

“American Idol” has been revitalized by charismatic, stardust streaming Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, who work with Randy Jackson as an excellent team.  (That was one of our New Year’s predictions, by the way.)

And NBC’s “The Voice” has come along, preceded by a promotional campaign that looked like an experiment in whether it’s possible to beat audiences into submission with relentless, repetitious hype.

Of course, we all know that “The Voice” is different from “American Idol” because they have neat swiveling chairs with big red panic buttons, and each judge takes a group of contestants under their wing and mentors them.  So essentially the judge is judged as well as the singer.   Hm.   Sound familiar?

Interesting that Simon has recently been saying he’s keeping details of the new “X Factor” under wraps because other producers “watch you and copy you and you see your show on other people’s shows.”

Yes, that’s a problem — no doubt going even further back than “Pop Star” producer Simon Fuller’s 2005 U.K. suit claiming “X Factor” was a copy of his show.

“The Voice”so far has posted  numbers promising a big hit for NBC.  And let’s not forget, the peacock network also has “America’s Got Talent,” produced by none other than Simon Cowell, coming back May 31 and auditions are going on for that show as well.

So, what will all this do to “X Factor” by the time it’s finally unveiled in the fall on Fox, with cohosts Corbin Bleu and Nicole Sherzinger and judges Cowell, L.A. Reid, Cheryl Cole and (?!) Paula Abdul?  Dare we say it?  You be the judge.

With Plethora of Imported TV Stars, It’s Time for Talent Tariff

Alex O'Loughlin

What do Hollywood casting directors have against American actors?  Oh, sure, we’ve been seeing this explosion of Brits, Aussies, Kiwis, Irish folk and other English-speaking foreigners on U.S. primetime for several years now, but there hasn’t been any complaining out of fear the U.K would want to take back Hugh Laurie, and goodness knows nobody wanted that.

However, things have gone too far.  Now we have an Australian (Alex O’Loughlin) playing Steve McGarrett on CBS’s new “Hawaii Five-O,” for crying out loud.  Plus, there’s this 13 trillion-dollar national debt thing that makes even ludicrous revenue-generating ideas sound good.  So the time has come for Uncle Sam to make some money off this imported TV star phenomenon.  The time has come for a Talent tariff.

Piers Morgan

Think of the increasingly annoying Piers Morgan, for instance.  The arrogant Fleet Street tabloid editor — whose claims to fame include being fired in the wake of the revelation that Daily Mirror photos purportedly showing British troops mistreating Iraqi prisoners were faked.   Brighton-born Simon Cowell ordained Guildford-born Piers as his substitute (a.k.a. “the mean one”), when Simon himself was contractually prevented (“American Idol”) from being an “America’s Got Talent” judge — and America went along.    This proves America’s weakness toward believing anyone with a British accent is qualified for their job.   Now Morgan is the man who would be King, as in Larry King, as in being named as the new host of King’s 25-year-old CNN show.

This is not right.  If we have to take Piers Morgan, we should be making money on it — or at least, the British should have to take Perez Hilton in exchange.

Speaking of “America’s Got Talent,” there’s oh-so-much more to love about Piers’ London-born cohort Sharon Osbourne than him.  And yet, Ozzy’s purple-red-haired frau is nearing massive over-exposure with yet another gig, CBS’s yet-untitled daytime show for fall.  But let us not be irritated.  Let us be enriched.  Talent tariff, people!

There’s Australia’s Simon Baker, England’s Natascha McElhone and Ed Westwick, Scotland’s Kevin McKidd.  The list goes on and on.  Money, money, money.

And let’s not forget the growing South Asian/Indian contingent.  As “The Big Bang Theory’s” Kunal Nayyar declared to press at last week’s TCA panel in reference to himself, most of the cast of NBC’s new “Outsourced” and various other shows, “We are everywhere now…It doesn’t surprise me.  We are all really good-looking and talented, and I’m really happy that we continue to take over the world.”

Can you say, “Ka-ching”?!