'X Factor': Rihanna to Guest Judge (Report)

11:53 AM PST 09/12/2011 by Shirley Halperin
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Simon Cowell tells THR that judge L.A. Reid is "expected to bring in stars." The Island Def Jam chart-topper certainly qualifies, as does Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Usher and more.

The latest X Factor rumor is that chart-topper Rihanna will guest judge on the show’s inaugural U.S. season. According to TMZ, the singer enjoyed her U.K. X Factor finale performance so much, that she -- and series creator/star Simon Cowell -- wants seconds. It helps that Rihanna is also signed to Island Def Jam, the Universal Music Group label that X Factor judge L.A. Reid ran from 2004 until March of this year. 

Rihanna’s reps won’t confirm a booking, but in speaking with The Hollywood Reporter for an August cover story, Cowell emphasized that Reid is “expected to bring in stars."

Looking at the executive’s stable of past successes, IDJ artists Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber would likely be on the short list, as would Reid’s Arista signings Usher, Pink and Avril Lavigne. Reid is currently chairman and CEO of Sony-owned Epic Label Group, which counts Shakira and Sara Bareilles among its artists. Says Cowell: “L.A. is the most powerful music executive in the world right now. He brings star power with him.”

Indeed, it was reported last month that Carey was scheduled to shoot her guest segments but was grounded in New York due to Hurricane Irene. Says an X Factor source, “It was disappointing, but they’ll work something out.”

Fox has not commented on any guest judge rumors insisting that viewers will find out soon enough. The show premieres on September 21. 

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