Longtime judge and curmudgeon Simon Cowell has to deal with three female judges in Kelly Rowland, Paulina Rubio and Demi Lovato.
"So many girls doing so well in the charts, we thought the panel should reflect it," Cowell said.
Unable to avoid adding a jab, Cowell smiles and adds: "But be careful what you wish for."
What he's really wishing for is a group of contestants -- male and female -- who will attract viewers to the reality music competition show. And, it's very important the judges find a talent that will go on to fame and fortune.
As far as Cowell's concerned, none of the music competition shows can survive if they don't eventually launch a huge star.
"You're making a promise, essentially, to the contestants that you're going to try and turn them into real-life artists or the show finishes. It's not a guarantee, but that is your commitment. Otherwise, it's just a game show," Cowell said.
The most important part for Cowell is what occurs after the final voting.
Lovato's making her second appearance on the judging panel. She jokes that everyone told her you can't say "no" to Cowell, but she took it as a matter of national pride to go against the British judge.
"I guess, being 19 last year, I had a naive sense of confidence. I wasn't intimidated by him as people normally would be," Lovato said.
"And this year, I'm not the only one that does that. That's what makes this season stand out more. He's up against three women that will absolutely do the same thing.
Joining Lovato in her verbal jousting with Cowell are Rowland, a singer and former member of Destiny's Child, and recording star Rubio, who is considered one of the most influential contemporary Latin artists working today.
Tweaks to the show come out of Cowell's competitive nature. "The Voice," NBC's singing competition series, has become the top-rated program in the genre. Cowell would love to see "The X-Factor" as the leader.
"You get that one or two special contestants, and it can change everything because that's really what it's all about."
"The X Factor airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on Fox.
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