Photo Credit: Getty Images
A little less than a year ago, it seemed like everyone was speculating about who Simon Cowell would choose to sit at the judging table on his new show, The X Factor. And well, here we go again.
L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul didn't deliver the ratings he'd hoped for (and predicted). So Scherzinger and Abdul are out, and he's actively looking to replace them -- with even bigger stars.
While it's all speculation at this point, snagging some truly top-tier celebrities appears to be his goal, and topping his wish list are Mariah Carey, Beyonce and Fergie. A celebrity of their magnitude would generate major buzz and deliver legions of fans to the show from the outset. Two celebrities of their magnitude could set the show on an Idol-crushing trajectory.
Here's the rub: He'll have to convince one or two of these megawatt stars to join a show that, ratings-wise, is still just a younger sibling to Idol on the Fox network. Despite X Factor's money and polish, it's simply not the biggest talent competition on the air. And with the recent firings of Scherzinger, Abdul and host Steve Jones, the show appears to be floundering.
"Getting someone like Mariah would be huge," Lyndsey Parker, managing editor of Yahoo! Music, told MTV.com. "But I don't know if she would do it, because…I think the image of X Factor is a little tarnished."
Michael Slezak of TVLine.com understands the appeal of big-name performers, but he doesn't consider Cowell's plan to be foolproof. "You can get the biggest star in the world, you can get someone who hosted the Oscars, like Ellen DeGeneres, and they still can't handle giving live criticism," he told MTV.com. "It's one thing to be a big-name star; it's another thing to be fast enough on TV to be able to watch a 90-second performance, be able to form an opinion immediately and then give a quick, succinct, honest assessment of that performance and to be willing to do that."
And while none of the hoped-for stars have yet to weigh in, Carey's husband, Nick Cannon, has already expressed his opinion. "My wife is not a fan of judging people," he said last week during a broadcast of his radio show, Rollin' with Nick Cannon. "I think these shows are really good shows, but when you get someone of status or just is big-time career-wise to do these shows, I personally think it's a step down…Why would she do that? Why would my wife be a judge on a show like that? How is that helping the world out?"
Sounds like Cowell might have an uphill battle. But at least one person is actively vying for the job. Gossip blogger Perez Hilton has posted an open letter to Cowell on his site, making his case to be the next judge hired.
"I am a huge music lover and I bring with me a lot of experience and expertise in the world of music," he writes. "I'm just going to be me and I'm so fabulous -- in case you couldn't tell -- and fun and self-deprecating!"
Hmmm. Good luck to him, but it's probably safe to say that Cowell will stick to his original wish list.