“The X Factor” executive producer Simon Cowell has revealed that Rihanna is going to be a guest mentor on “The X Factor” U.S., but Mariah Carey is not.
Cowell had been telling the media for months that Carey would be involved in “The X Factor” U.S. in some way. Several reliable sources (including Carey’s husband, Nick Cannon) also gave interviews confirming that Carey would be a guest mentor on the show.
An official announcement has not yet been made by the show, but Cowell leaked the news about Carey and Rihanna during a “Good Day New York” interview at “The X Factor” U.S. premiere event, which was held in Los Angeles on September 14, 2011.
“The X Factor” U.S. has a two-part premiere on Fox on September 21 and September 22, 2011. “Good Day New York” is a weekday morning program that is televised on WNYW-TV, the Fox affiliate in New York City.
In the interview, Cowell confirmed the reports that Rihanna was going to be a guest mentor/judge on “The X Factor” U.S.
Cowell said that Carey was all set to be on “The X Factor” U.S., but her travel plans were canceled due to Hurricane Irene. Carey has a home in New York City, which was one of the numerous cities affected by the hurricane.
When he was asked what happened to Carey and her involvement with the show, Cowell replied: “She couldn’t judge because of the hurricane, but I found someone bigger.”
It was not clear if Rihanna had replaced Carey as a guest mentor/judge or if someone else did. Carey had been scheduled to assist Cowell in choosing which “X Factor” U.S. contestants would become finalists.
Hurricane Irene (which was later downgraded to a tropical storm) hit the East Coast of the United States and parts of the Caribbean from August 26 to 29, 2011, causing millions in damages. Airports were shut down and hundreds of airplane flights were canceled. In New York City that weekend, the subway system was closed for the first time in its history. Other public transportation and commercial train services were also suspended until the storm passed. In addition, bridges and tunnels in and out of New York City were closed as a safety precaution.
“The X Factor” U.S. is a contest for unsigned solo singers and unsigned vocal groups. Contestants must be at least 12 years old, legal U.S. residents and legally able to work in the United States. The show has a grand prize of $5 million and a record deal with Sony Music.
The four judges on “The X Factor” U.S. are Cowell, Paula Abdul, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Nicole Scherzinger. Each year, “The X Factor” judges are each given a category of contestants to mentor during the show. For “the X Factor” U.S., the four categories are young female solo singers; young male solo singers; older solo singers; and vocal groups.
During the “judges’ homes” stage of the competition, a celebrity is paired with each “X Factor” judge in a luxurious home to help the judge advise contestants and decide which ones will become finalists. The finalists then perform in live episodes, and the audience chooses the winner through voting.
Rihanna became a star in large part due to Reid, when he was chairman/CEO of Island Def Jam Music Group, the record company that releases Rihanna’s music. It was widely assumed that Rihanna would be paired as an “X Factor” guest mentor with Reid because of her career history with him. (Reid left Island Def Jam in March 2011. In July 2011, he was named chairman/CEO of Epic Records, a Sony Music label.)
In an April interview with Ryan Seacrest’s KIIS-FM show, Rihanna revealed that she had been invited to be a permanent judge on “The X Factor” U.S., and although it was something she said “would have loved to do,” she had to decline because of her busy work schedule that includes international concert tours.
An official announcement has not yet been made about which mentor categories “The X Factor” U.S. judges will have in 2011. It has also not been announced which celebrities are being paired with which judges for the “judges’ homes” phase of the competition. However, it is clear (based on Cowell’s comments in the “Good Day New York” interview) that at least some of that phase of the competition has already been taped for 2011, since the schedule was not rearranged to accommodate Carey’s changed travel plans.