The X Factor is one of the most anticipated shows of the season, and the wait is finally over. In honor of the show's premiere tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX, J-14 chatted with judge and creator Simon Cowell about the show and what we can look forward to.
J-14: How are you feeling about the start of The X Factor? Are you excited or scared? What are you thinking?
Simon Cowell: I'm feeling excited now. I mean there are always nerves before a launch, but it's good nerves. We always do this every time we make a show. But my friends and the people who have seen the show, they've gotten excited about it, and I'm hoping that obviously America feels the same way, too. I'm really starting to have a good time now. And I'm looking forward to tomorrow, because I've always wanted to do this.
J-14: Will any former Idol contestants be trying out for The X Factor?
Simon: I mean that was the whole idea in the show in the first place [having few rules]. And we did expect some people who we've seen before on Idol to come along, so I didn't really have a problem with that. It was quite nice to hear them a second time. It comes down to the individual judge's decisions, because in the later stages of the show you make decisions who's going to make the finals depending on what category you're given.
J-14: Are you going to be pushing contestants to reinvent songs like Kris Allen did with "Heartless" by Kanye West?
Simon: Oh, 100 percent we want as many unique versions as possible, otherwise you just turn it into a karaoke competition. So within about three weeks into the show you're going to start hearing contestants way outside their comfort zone and hearing versions of songs you haven't heard before. And that's part of the test of the contestants within the show, who can come up with the most unique version of the song. Otherwise, it's just boring.
J-14: What do you think it will make people connect with this show?
Simon: Well I think it goes back to the the backstories. How interesting are the contestants? Can you be bothered to invest time in them? Is it different from what you've heard before? And I was very aware of that when we made the show because of the obvious comparisons to other shows out there. I always said to people, I think when you watch the show you're going to understand that there's more than a subtle difference between [The X Factor and American Idol]. You have to allow the viewers to see things they haven't seen before, you have to like or hate the contestants, and they have to be brilliant every week. And if you don't have any of that people will switch off.
J-14: Do you think The X Factor can produce like a megastar, like a Lady Gaga or a Justin Bieber?
Simon: A hundred percent yes. That was always the sole reason for making a show like this -- can you find a different kind of artist who doesn't just work within a competition show, but actually can compete with the big artists out there around the world. And that's what you hope is going to happen, and I will die trying until the end to do that.
Photo: Courtesy of Ian Derry/FOX