“The X Factor” U.S. executive producer/judge Simon Cowell has given very few interviews in the week since the show premiered on September 21, 2011, but he sat down for an exclusive interview with ReelzChannel, which has hired his older half-brother Tony Cowell as a special “X Factor” U.S. correspondent.
In part one of the two-part interview (which was taped on September 27, 2011; part one of the interview aired on September 28), Tony interviewed Simon at Simon’s home in Beverly Hills, California. The Cowell brothers talked about how they watched the show’s premiere together at a Los Angeles party with several “X Factor” employees.
Simon Cowell said, “I like to see it with the commercials and to, you know, see it properly. It felt good when I watched it back … And I hate watching myself on TV.”
Since “The X Factor” U.S. premiere was televised, 28-year-old Chris Rene (who was featured in the show’s first epsiode) has become the show’s first breakout star. Rene’s audition video (in which he performed a song he wrote called “Young Homie”) has gotten more hits on YouTube than another “X Factor” U.S. contestant audition video so far.
Simon Cowell had this to say about Rene’s YouTube success:
“We always hoped that it was going to happen, where a clip goes on YouTube [and becomes a hit]. I was watching this very closely. On the first morning, he had 40,000 hits. By that night, it was 300,000. And now, a week later, it’s 3 million and rising. That’s when you know you’ve done something right. I’m a big, big fan of pushing those clips out there. That’s more important to me than anything else.”
(Click here to watch Chris Rene’s audition.)
Simon Cowell also talked about his fellow judges on “The X Factor” U.S. (Paula Abdul, L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger), but he didn’t say anything about them that he hasn’t already said in other interviews: that Reid is like the “rock” of the panel; that reuniting with Abdul was like reuniting with a lost dog that was found; and that Scherzinger is “possibly crazier than Paula.”
Simon Cowell (who was a judge on “American Idol” from 2002 to 2010) also commented on his former co-worker Ryan Seacrest, the host of “American Idol.” Cowell said that Seacrest did not wish Cowell good luck with “The X Factor” U.S. (which is considered competition to “American Idol”), but Simon Cowell joked that Seacrest texted him with the message that he was “feeling suicidal” when “X Factor” U.S. billboards began appearing. “Trust me, he’s watching the ratings more closely than I am,” Simon Cowell said of Seacrest.
In the interview, Simon Cowell did not comment on the ratings for “The X Factor” U.S. premiere. Before the premiere, he had told the media that he would consider it a failure if the premiere episode got less than 20 million U.S. viewers. In the end, the episode got 12.5 million U.S. viewers.
“The X Factor” U.S. is televised by Fox in the U.S. on Wednesdays and Thursdays from September to December. The contest, which is open to unsigned solo singers and unsigned vocal groups, has a grand prize of $5 million and a record deal with Sony Music. The “X Factor” U.S. contestants must be at least 12 years old and must be U.S. residents who can legally work in the United States.
(Click here to read what Simon talked about in part two of his exclusive ReelzChannel interview with his brother Tony.)