Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
New The X Factor judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato were introduced during a Fox TCA session this afternoon, live via satellite from Miami where the series was undergoing its preseason boot camp. The pop stars-turned-TV personalities were both sweet and earnest, a winning contrast to their proudly acerbic judging cohort Simon Cowell. Cowell generally behaved himself in rolling out the show’s replacements for the axed Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger. But even as he was exulting in the show’s new configuration, he was contradicting himself. Asked how much job security his new judges might have in light of the single-season survival of the first judges, he noted, “Job security. There’s not much. No one has any really. Not even me”. Cowell also revised what he told the media in February, when he noted that he figured the show would be hiring two women to replace first-year host Steve Jones. “The plan is to have a boy and a girl”, he said, “and ideally I’d like someone who maybe hasn’t actually been a host before. I think there’s a different role for them on this show going forward as well”. He hoped to have an announcement by the middle of August.
Cowell also blamed the departed Abdul and Scherzinger for the botched — and shocking — departure from the show of 14-year-old Rachel Crow, who wound up landing a deal with Nickelodeon shortly thereafter. “That was the girls’ fault unfortunately”, he stressed. “They could have saved (Crow). We do have an opportunity to save people like Rachel and unfortunately it didn’t work that week. I don’t think that will happen again. And Rachel, she’s grown up on the back of it, she’s having a great time, so there’s no scars. But we’re very careful who we screen at that age”. He added that he was thrilled to have Spears onboard, as she had long been “the No. 1 person I’ve wanted on these shows.” He called her “a really good judge”, if “quite mean”. When Lovato jumped in to defend Spears and called her a “sweetheart”, the tart-tongued Cowell shot back, “As sweet as a lemon”.
(Photo: Getty Images)