The X Factor Interview: Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato On Britney Spears, The Battle With The Voice and More

Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato

This year’s season of The X Factor boasts bigger talent and two new judges, Demi Lovato and Britney Spears. TV Equals talked to both Lovato and head judge/creator Simon Cowell during a conference call about the new season, the current lack of hosts and the big battle brewing between The X Factor and rival show The Voice.

No hosts yet

Even though the show is premiering soon, no announcement about a host has been made. “We’ve screen-tested a load of people, but the audition shows don’t have any hosts. We’ve got about three or four weeks, but I think we’re going to make a decision in about the next seven days,” said Cowell.

Even though Cowell doesn’t have any hosts to name, he does have an idea of what he’s looking for, saying he’s screen tested “quite a few people,” including hosts and actors.  “My gut feeling is we’ll probably go with a boy and a girl who haven’t had any hosting experience because I think that might make it more interesting,” he said.

Lovato’s anti-bullying stance 

Lovato’s fans are very aware of anti-bullying stance due to her own personal experiences. Lovato explained how she’s staying out of bullying territory when it comes to critique the show’s contestants.

“I think bullying is something that’s totally different than criticism,” she said. “Bullying, I think, can be when you’re just … harsh really for no reason. I feel when you’re giving criticism, you’re only trying to help somebody with their performance or their voice or whatever. I think definitely there could be a fine line between some jokes, but for me, ultimately, I’m just having fun and trying to give them criticism.”

The Voice vs. The X Factor

Cowell addressed the three-night premiere of NBC’s The Voice, one of those nights being the same night The X Factor premieres. According to Cowell, the move to air The Voice on the same night as The X Factor is a ploy to distract people.

“First of all, I’ve seen the first show. I think it’s sensational. I think the girls do a great job. The contestants are great. The show looks different to anything else we’ve ever made before. I think this is the reason why NBC decided to put The Voice up against us,”  said Cowell. “It is a spoiling tactic and it’s very simple—they don’t want people to see this first episode. I think it’s mean-spirited and I hope and I pray that it backfires on them because this is one of the best shows we’ve ever made. I am … off about it because I think there is kind of a gentlemen’s agreement, but you have to rely that the viewers will make the right selection. I think three nights in a row is too much. I think there is a lot of interest, rightly so, in our show because of Britney, Demi, the way the show is going to look. We’re going to see what happens. But I’ve learned, don’t make any predictions.”

Also, to combat what The Voice judge Christina Aguilera said about not knowing what Spears will offer The X Factor, Cowell said she should, “watch the show. She might learn something.”

Lovato added diplomacy to her comments about the premiere night issue. “I think the whole situation is, there is a little ice there, and I don’t know why they would do that,” she said. “But you know, ultimately, it’s about finding a superstar and giving people the chance to win a huge prize of $5 million. That’s all that I really care about. I’m honored to be on the panel, let alone on a TV show, especially having a job in this economy. It’s amazing. That’s all I’m focusing on right now.”

Britney, the mean judge

Cowell said he was surprised to find out how mean Spears could be as a judge. “[L]ike if you buy a dog, you expect it to lick you and then it turns out to bite you? It was rather like that. It was a real surprise. She’s really,really difficult to please. But in a way, I think it made it more interesting because she just wouldn’t say yes … for people to like her,” he said. “When you do these auditions in front of 5,000 people, they boo you. But she was kind of fearless. Because I know the first show Demi said, no, and she got booed, I could see the look on her face like, ‘I don’t think I want to do this show anymore.’ It’s kind of difficult, but [Spears is] going to surprise a lot of people, I think, when you see her.”

Watch the two-night premiere of the new season of The X Factor Wednesday, September 12 and Thursday, September 13 at 8/7c on FOX.