Simon Cowell has finally found some people to take Britney Spears and Epic Records honcho L.A. Reid's places on the "X Factor" panel for Season 3. It has been officially confirmed that Destiny's Child diva Kelly Rowland and Latin pop superstar Paulina Rubio are the the new "X Factor" judges, joining Simon and returning judge Demi Lovato this fall.
These hirings make "The X Factor's" new judging panel the most girl-powered in the singing-show sphere. While most talent shows max out at one or maybe two female judges, "The X Factor" will have three, with lone male Simon holding court among the ladies.
"It's taken more than a decade but I'm delighted to finally be on a panel with three girls (I think!). Paulina and Kelly both have great taste and massive experience in the music industry and together with Demi, this is going to be a fun panel. It just feels like the time to do something different," Simon said in a statement Monday.
I'm actually very cool with the Kelly casting; it makes sense to me, for reasons I will explain in a moment. As for Paulina, I'm a little more on the fence about her. I was hoping that the panel's balance of two performers/two industry insiders would remain intact (I have long advocated that all singing shows need judges with behind-the-scenes experience), so I find it odd that three-fourths of the panel now comprises attractive pop singers.
Additionally, Paulina judged "The Voice Mexico" last year, and is currently a judge on "La Voz Kids," a Spanish-language version of "The Voice" for children ages 7-14...so her involvement in "The X Factor" seems like a conflict. "La Voz Kids" just premiered on Telemundo May 5.
But I am trying to stay positive, so here are some reasons why both judges could be good additions to the Season 3 "X Factor" panel:
THE ARGUMENT FOR KELLY:
She's current – During her solo career, Kelly has collaborated with David Guetta, Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, Eve, Travie McCoy, Pitbull, The-Dream, Nelly, Big Sean, Tinie Tempah, Sean Paul, Ludacris, Future, Big Boi, and many other modern urban acts. She's also made major inroads the dance-music world, crossing over from R&B. She knows what's up. Which leads me to my next point…
She has cred – In addition to her edgy collaborations, Kelly obviously spent 16 years in one of the biggest girl groups of all time, Destiny's Child, who sold 50 million records worldwide. She's also sold 24 million records as a solo artist. Oh…and she can really sing, which, let's face it, is more than could be said for Britney. However…
She's famous, but not too famous – Of course Kelly is well-known. But she's not an over-the-top megastar like Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, or Christina Aguilera — you know, the type of judge whose massive fame tends to overshadow the actual contestants. So the show won't be all about Kelly. It'll be about the aspiring singers that Kelly has presumably been hired to mentor. And that's the way "The X Factor" should be.
She has TV experience – Kelly appeared as a choirmaster on the NBC reality show "Clash of the Choirs" in 2007 (alongside future "Sing-Off" host Nick Lachey and future "Voice" coach Blake Shelton); in 2009, she hosted Bravo's "The Fashion Show"; and last year, she was a regular, alongside Jason Derulo, on an Australian talent show called "Everybody Dance Now." But most importantly, Kelly was a judge on Season 8 of "The X Factor U.K." in 2011. For a little taste of what "X Factor USA" viewers are in for, check out this charming reel of her U.K. highlights:
THE ARGUMENT FOR PAULINA:
She's a veteran – Paulina started off as a member of the Latin teen-pop group Timbiriche when she was 12 years old, recording ELEVEN albums with them. She has also released nine solo albums total since 1992, selling 20 million units worldwide. She may not be super-well-known in the States, but she's definitely A-list in many parts of the world.
She'll bring in an international audience – "The X Factor" needs all the help it can get, with disappointing ratings for its first two seasons. Will Paulina's involvement draw in new viewers? My guess is Simon sure hopes so.
She could be great with kids - "The X Factor's" lower age limit is 12, significantly younger than it is for rival shows "American Idol" (15) and "The Voice" (16). Paulina's experience in Timbiriche, not to mention on "La Voz Kids," could make her a good fit if she's assigned to mentor the Groups, Teens, or Young Adults categories. Just please don't give her the Over-25's!
Do you think Kelly and Paulina will be good "X Factor USA" judges?