Remember that really, really subtle part at the end of The X Factor‘s final audition night, where everything pointed to an outrageous donnybrook over one of the judges getting stuck with one presumably unwanted group of auditionees? (Guys under 30,
girls women under 30, older contestants and groups, for those who skipped the auditions.) There will indeed be outrage. An intervention, even! Take it from L.A. Reid, bowled over with laughter at the prospect, and Simon Cowell, both of whom revealed this much in an excellent interview with TVLine. Simon: “You will see what’s known as an intervention. Major. I don’t want to give it away, but you’ll see.”
Well, at least it’s major. Those minor interventions just don’t make for good TV. As for the rest of the interview, TVLine has the entire thing, but here are a few highlights:
Simon Cowell is sexual orientation-agnostic.
One criticism of Idol–and, more recently, one aspect for which The Voice was praised (both by insiders like Adam Levine and others)–was its treatment of gay artists, specifically Adam Lambert, whose sexual orientation at times seemed to be the one thing the producers strove to ignore away. Not on X Factor, said Simon: “I don’t care. I couldn’t care less. We behave like we’re in the music business. When we sign an artist, there is no form where you fill in. If you’re a star, you’re a star.” He also said contestants were perfectly able to discuss their sexual orientation on camera. No word, though, on whether any actually have so far.
Simon, however, still isn’t entirely sure how the Internet works.
Both judges dodged the question about how much they focus on contestants’ looks–no surprise there–but spent a surprising amount of time on contestants’ names. Specifically, they’ve got to sound starry, like “Leona Lewis” or “Renee Zellweger” or “Kiki” or “Bouba”. Just one problem: whether you think “Ryniewicz” is a disqualification or not (we say not), dropping Drew Ryniewicz’s last name so she’ll just go by “Drew”? Yes, the world knows her less by name than by “Baby” rendition right now, but if you’re going for star quality, “Drew” just doesn’t have the same ring as, say, “Madonna.” It’s also got the distinct downside of being a common verb, meaning that anyone searching for her will come across countless pages about people who drew a smiley face or drew blood.
Neither Simon nor L.A. Reid are publicly worried about ratings.
Some pundits are worried about The X Factor‘s ratings–the premiere’s 12.5 million viewers seems high, but it’s still half of what Idol did for Season Ten. Yes, Idol is an entrenched juggernaut while The X Factor‘s only recently imported from the U.K., and yes, the numbers have held steady since the premiere, but still: if people are looking for signs of failure, people tend to find them. That’s basically L.A.’s argument; he cited the “through the roof” YouTube hits on videos of the contestants. The other part of his argument was that people like to watch kids sing, which helps The X Factor because its minimum age limit is roughly puberty.
One thing that won’t goose ratings, though: canned critiques. We’ll let Simon take this one, and the last word: “Somebody would sing and it was like, turn to Page 27: “You’re like a raspberry donut without the filling.” And I was like, “What are you talking about?” I swear to God!”