X Factor’s Simon Cowell says girl group Lakoda Rayne, which he along with fellow judges L.A. Reid, Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger created when it paired bootcamp finalists Dani Knights, Cari Fletcher, Paige Elizabeth and Hayley Orrantia, was voted off the competition for being “too pretty.”
“It’s a problem I’ve had all my life,” he joked following Wednesday’s elimination show. But in all seriousness, he blamed the group members’ looks for their exit. “Girls didn’t like them,” Cowell said. “Groups are always difficult but I think someone like Drew is very good in that she speaks to teenagers like a teenager — that’s part of her appeal. They’re a bit older, but it’s the same principle.”
As for LeRoy Bell, the unlikely 60-year-old finalist who stole America’s heart with his velvety voice and sweet disposition, Cowell doubts ageism was at work. “It was personality-ism,” the head judge told the Hollywood Reporter. “You’ve really got to pop now, you’ve got to make people want to vote for you when you’re competing with people like Drew or Rachel [Crow] or particularly what Melanie [Amaro] did Tuesday night. At this point, you make a statement and I always felt with LeRoy that he was slightly embarrassed that he had to compete with 13 ort 14-year-olds because he’s a man and he’s got dignity. And I kind of get it, but I felt that he didn’t quite let himself go in the way that Josh [Krajcik] lets himself go.”
Speaking of letting things go, it seems Reid isn’t holding a grudge when it comes to Cowell’s verbal assault the other night. “L.A. was a little bit frosty at the beginning, particularly when he saw the playback of the show,” Cowell cracked. “I don’t think he liked that very much, because I had the last word.”
Still, Cowell insists it’s mostly for show. “I explained to L.A. before we did the show that we’re going to have that kind of relationship,” he said. “If you like each other, you can have that kind of banter.”
But Cowell isn’t about to let the Demi Lovato slip go. To recap: Reid criticized Drew for singing the hit “Skyscraper” saying it was music for 40-year-olds. Lovato, who sings the song, is 19. “We haven’t stopped talking about it,” Cowell said with a chuckle. “I’m having the album delivered to his dressing room.” Cowell adds that he was as surprised as anyone that Reid “didn’t know the song,” but he also saw it as an opportunity. “I loved it because I knew he was going to have a problem with [Drew], that’s been going on for a while,” Cowell explained. “So when he dropped the ball on Demi, it was like, ‘Fine, now I’m going to say what I want to say.’”
And did he ever. Cowell called Reid’s insights “stupid, inaccurate rubbish” among a slew of other insults, leaving the Epic Records chairman dumbfounded. But no hard feelings — minutes later, the two were kibitzing outside the X Factor stage door. It is television, after all.