Simon Cowell on 'The X Factor's' $5 Million Prize: "Yes, I Think We Should Be Nervous"

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"Putting up that kind of prize money is a massive, massive risk, but also it's an incredible incentive," he says.

Does Simon Cowell feel uneasy about giving the upcoming winner of Fox’s The X-Factor winner a $5 million record deal (the largest guaranteed prize ever awarded on TV)?

"Yes - and I think we should be nervous," he said during a teleconference Monday. "The reason we decided to do this was to show the people who are auditioning [for] the show, sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is. Putting up that kind of prize money is a massive, massive risk, but also it's an incredible incentive."
 
Added Cowell, "I also did it because I believe [we] can find a star. So, I'm nervous, but I'm also confident that it was the right thing to do. I think it should be a life-changing prize. This is not a dressed-up 5 million."
 
Cowell also weighed in on allowing 12-year olds to audition even though some feel that is an early age to deal with the scrutiny that comes with competing on TV: "We’ve started to see a trend with kids this age and what they can do. Times have changed. You have to make a case-by-case decision based on them as a person.”
 
Cowell says the talent show - which originally launched in the UK is 2004 - "has to be controversial, interesting. If the U.S. show has some of the same qualities as we've done in the UK it could do really, really well. But I've learned never to take anything for granted."
 
The U.S. version of The X-Factor premiere on Fox in the fall.
 
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