With two empty seats at the X Factor judges’ table and no word on replacements, speculation has already begun swirling around potential candidates for the vacant positions.
One of the hats thrown into Simon Cowell’s proverbial ring belongs to Ne-Yo (nee: Shaffer Chimere Smith), a hit recording artist in his own right who currently heads up A&R at Motown Records. In The Hollywood Reporter’s X Factor Fantasy Panel blog post, published earlier this month, Ne-Yo was named among the ideal candidates to replace outgoing judge L.A. Reid.
The 30-year-old confirms to THR that talks about a potential TV gig have commenced, but those conversations are still in the very early stages.
“I don't want anybody to put too much stock in that,” says Ne-Yo. “It honestly and truly may not happen. It’s just conversation right now, and everybody knows that in L.A., until the ink is dry on the contract, nothing is for certain.”
That’s not to say Ne-Yo wouldn’t say yes if offered the position.
“I feel like I have some vital information that I can give to an artist that will guarantee them as a career as opposed to a flash-in-the-pan,” he muses. “And we all know that it's very, very easy for that to happen nowadays.” Adding: “So with that being said, yeah, I could definitely do it.”
And while critics of the singer, who released his debut album in 2006, wonder whether he’s as qualified as Reid or fellow outgoing judge Britney Spears, Ne-Yo is confident in his response.
“I heard that there were some people that felt like that I hadn't been as successful as Britney Spears or LA Reid, completely ignoring the fact that I haven't been in the business as long as either one of them, but that's neither here nor there. They didn't feel like that I would have any kind of input to give to an up-and-coming artist,” he says.
“I feel like nothing could be farther from the truth. I really don't feel like I would have a job as an A&R person at a prestigious record label if I didn't have something to give to an up-and-coming artist.”
As the label’s senior vice president of A&R, Ne-Yo currently serves as a mentor to all Motown talent while seeking out and signing new artists.
What do you think of Ne-Yo as a reality competition judge? Tell us in the comments below.
And in other X Factor-related news, fans can get their first taste of season two winner Tate Stevens' new material during the Grammys broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 10. The country singer will debut his very first music video, "Holler If You're With Me," during the CBS telecast beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT as part of his partnership with Pepsi.
With reporting by Shirley Halperin.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci