February 22, 2012 4:29pm PT by Jethro Nededog
'X Factor's' Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid Talk Judges Search, Britney Spears and Whitney Houston
In addition to two hosting positions, Fox’s X Factor has two judging spots to fill for Season 2 and a seemingly endless amount of reported candidates for the job.
“This happened last year,” Simon Cowell tells reporters Wednesday on a press call. “There’s a load of speculation, some true, some not true. It’s true to say that a lot more people have entered the frame this year. And we really waited to see who was going to contact us before we actually contacted people. And we’re in that place right now, which is a good place to be in.”
Cowell does say that we should expect some announcements to be made over the next few weeks. “We will meet a number of people in the next two weeks,” he reveals. “Mainly to explain to them that this is big commitment when you do a show like this because of the mentoring aspect. I can’t confirm or deny any of these rumors at the moment.”
Most recently, reports broke that pop star Britney Spears has shown interest in one of the vacant spots left behind by fired judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger. Cowell wouldn’t confirm those reports, but he did speak to the idea a bit.
“Are we flattered that there could be interest? Yes,” he says. “Other than that, there’s going to be a lot of twists and turns over the next few weeks and a lot of things we’re going to announce. But, while you have The Voice and Idol competing with each other, I’ve learned a big lesson: Keep your mouth shut.”
While Mariah Carey seems to be Cowell’s dream casting, Janet Jackson is confirmed as being in preliminary talks with the show. Another high profile candidate was the late Whitney Houston. And apparently, L.A. Reid primarily dealt with the singer’s camp, though talks seemed very premature at the time of her death.
“We love Whitney and we would have certainly considered it,” Reid says. “The truth is it never quite came to that. There was an interest there, but we never actually had meetings about it. But again, we’re both big fans of Whitney and we’re very sad about the loss. But we really didn’t get that far, so I don’t think it’s proper to comment beyond that.”
As far as planning some kind of tribute for Houston on the second season, Reid says he has wanted to pitch it to Cowell. But, the executive producer seems to have one eye on the competition at all times right now.
“I have a feeling, L.A., just a hunch,” he says to the Epic Records exec. “That you may see a Whitney tribute on The Voice and Idol before us. In which case if we decide to do it, we have to do it in a different way. But, the important thing is that we’re going to continually pay tribute to Whitney Houston on this show, because we love her, we love her songs, and there will probably never be a season where you won’t hear a Whitney song. They’re timeless.”
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro