‘The X Factor’ Episode 3: Has Simon Cowell Been Replaced?
Okay, not really. No need to worry that Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Tyler, or Jennifer Lopez have been recruited for "The X Factor" just yet. But it certainly was jarring on Wednesday's episode when--after falling ill in Kansas City--Simon sat out the show's first hour of auditions, and flew out his old "X Factor U.K." co-star, an affable Irish gent named Louis Walsh, to fill in for him at the last minute.
For those of you unfamiliar with Walsh--i.e., those of you asking the same question L.A. Reid was, "Who the hell is Louie?"--he's a pop impresario over in Britain who has managed the likes of Westlife, Boyzone, Girls Aloud, Samantha Mumba, and JLS. He's a bit of a buffoon on "The X Factor U.K.," sort of fulfilling the show's useless-Randy-Jackson-esque role, but he can take credit for discovering "X Factor U.K." wondertwins Jedward, with whom I am stupidly obsessed, so Louie's cool in my book. The man seemed delighted to get his big shot on American television while seated next to American pop princess Britney Spears, and while he didn't have Simon's bite or bile--apparently not all British/Irish reality stars are crabby, contrary to popular belief--he did a pretty decent job. As L.A. Reid put it, I was "missing Simon...but not that much."
But of course, it didn't really feel like "The X Factor" until Simon returned to the show in the second hour and was soon back to his nasty old tricks. Among his many barbs were "I won't remember you in 15 minutes"; "It was like the six of you were waiting for a bus"; "You're a bit like a singing candle, you just stand there and melt"; and "I can't have any more Adele songs!" It was like Simon had been languishing in his sickbed, imagining sweet pushover Louie letting everyone through while he lay there helplessly, and he was now making up for lost time.
Here's who sang for either Simon or Louis and the rest of the "X Factor" gang at Wednesday's Kansas City and Austin auditions: