Simon Cowell: Why I Chose L.A. Reid for ‘X Factor’

Emily Blank

He says he thinks “America will find him interesting.”

Appointing L.A. Reid the first judge of his upcoming Fox show The X Factor wasn’t a tough decision for Simon Cowell.

“Even though a lot of people won't know who he is, he is actually a fascinating guy and I think a lot of people will like the fact that they're discovering him on the show,” Cowell tells the Huffington Post of Reid, who resigned as chairman of Island Def Jam last week after THR broke the news of his new gig.
“I've known the guy a long time, and every time I was in his company, I always found him fascinating and interesting, and I just liked spending time with him because he's very knowledgeable, and he just has a lot of charisma, and I think America will find him interesting,” he goes on. “So I was never a fan of thinking, I need to hire celebrities to bring in an audience, I wanted to put together a group of people who as a whole, people would want to watch, week after week.”
As for casting the other judges – former Idol judge Paula Abdul, Jessica Simpson and George Michael have all been rumored additions — Cowell says it’s been “an interesting process.”
At the end of the day, Cowell says, “you trust your gut feeling to put together a panel that's going to work, and the most important thing is, people will decide, once they watch the show, whether we've made the right decision or the wrong decision.”
Cowell adds it’s important “to trust the people you're working with, and actually you've got to like the people, because you're going to be working with them for a long time. It's a difficult process because you want to have people who have different views, you want to have people on there who are fun to watch, people who aren't afraid to argue with me or stand up for the contestants. So you're trying to find everything, really. And what's made this process a long, drawn out process is that a lot of keen people were keen to be on the show. So it makes the decision that much harder. Normally in the past, certainly on the shows we've done in the UK, we've kind of got the balance right.”