It's reminiscent of when Michael Jordan left basketball, only to return and win 3 straight championships. Yes, Simon Cowell's return to television is that big. The former "American Idol" judge will return this fall with a new show called "X Factor." Already a huge hit overseas, "X Factor" is sure to generate more stars for the American music industry. At the same time, it just might destroy "American Idol."
Simon spoke with GlobalGrind to discuss the differences between "X Factor" and "Idol," the $5 million dollar cash prize, Willow Smith and lots more. Check it out below.
GG: You’re getting ready to make your return back to Fox with "X Factor." How exciting is that?
SC: You know the last week it suddenly felt real, to be honest with you. I think once we’d announced our first judge, L.A. (Reid) and I was able to confirm it after all the rumors. And just doing interviews and talking to people. I think they are getting excited about the show coming. It’s been really, really good fun and I have really enjoyed it.
GG: Now, there is a five million dollar recording contract and that’s a big prize. What are you guys looking for at the auditions?
SC: With five million dollars at stake, we have to find somebody who, outside of winning the show, can now compete with the artists who are selling records all over the world. That was really the whole premise to do this show is that I had to believe that we can find that. I put the money up to really put my money where my mouth is. To say to people who ordinarily who may not want to enter one of these shows, without much money at stake, you should consider it. And I think it has had an effect.
I mean, you get the word out when you put that kind of cash up. These kinds of deals nowadays are just not offered to new artists anymore. It’s a big incentive and I think it’s going to make the competition more exciting.
GG: In comparison to "Idol," you lowered the age range to twelve. How can a twelve year old compete with someone a little older?
SC: Well, if you look at Willow Smith as an example and I’ve spoken to some people who saw her on tour recently. This girl is phenomenal. I mean, she’s got her head together, she’s very tall. When people like that are selling records and having such an impact I was confident that we should take the age range down to twelve because she has set a fantastic example.
But, years ago I wouldn’t have done it because everyone that would’ve turned out would be singing either something out of "Annie" or "West Side Story" or something. But, I think now, kids are so stimulated by what they have seen on the internet, they’ve worked out for themselves what kind of artist they want to be. So I think that age range may surprise us this year.