An Interview with Simon Cowell
Before the return of The X Factor UK on AXS TV September 3rd, we sat down with the boss man himself, Simon Cowell, to chat about the big changes and the HUGE talent to expect this year.
You’re shaking things up again this year in terms of the format of the show, what’s going on?
When you’ve done it for 14 years you can’t keep making the same show every year. I think you have to realise what the contestants are in it for, why do so many people enter? I think if you just make the same show each year it becomes boring and predictable. So you try and make changes for the better, not everything works but some ideas we’ve got for the live shows are going to be good.
How do you rate the talent this year?
It feels different and I tell you why. Sometimes you have to check yourself and go, ‘Why did we make the show in the first place?’. We made the show to be fun to watch but also to do something where people who couldn’t get a record deal could get what they needed to give themselves a head start. It worked. I think this year we’ve put the emphasis back on them, it’s all about them, their personalities, their originality, let them be the stars of the show.
You have seen someone already that you’ve said you would have signed on the spot outside of the show, what can you tease about this contestant?
I saw a couple of people in Edinburgh who, outside of the show, I would have signed. I have to be careful because I jinx it! Whenever I say someone’s amazing, I set myself up for a fall or them up for a fall. The truth is, I don’t think, at this stage, that there’s anything such as a perfect audition, I think you see potential. They can make bad song choices, but then you remember why they entered the show in the first place, for whatever reason they haven’t made the right decisions in their career and you hope when they come on the show that they make better decisions.
How does music influence your mood?
That’s a good question. I was only thinking today that there are times when it can be really irritating but then there are times when you hear a song and it’s the best feeling in the world. There was one girl during six chair who sang this dreadful version of Wannabe. If it was me I would have stopped it after 20 seconds, I literally had to put my fingers in my ears, it was that bad. Then other people came out and did an amazing song, they’re connected with it, they chose it for a reason and that’s the best feeling in the world.
When you close your door at home and you’re just Simon, not a celebrity in the public eye, do you dance?
No! I’ve always dreaded being the dad at the wedding! Now I have a son I will never, ever put Eric in that position. He actually makes me laugh because he’s a terrible dancer. He loves dancing and makes me laugh because he has a dance if he wants M&M’s or if he’s watching the film Trolls, he goes crazy. He cracks me up. I tell him he’s the worst dancer and he goes, ‘I know!’ and just carries on dancing.
So not even a little dance when you’re on your own in your office or brushing your teeth?
No! I don’t think guys do that! That would be the worst, I can’t see myself doing it. Have you seen Louis try to dance? He has no sense of rhythm whatsoever! None!
This is the 14th year of the show, can X Factor make it to 20?
If you’d asked me years ago how many more years I could do, I would have said if we can get to five more years then we’ve done well. Then you get to five years and it becomes ten. What I have noticed over the last two years, which is a good sign, is that I’m seeing younger and younger kids turn up to the show. That’s always the fear, that, like a lot of music shows, you don’t stay relevant. That’s why outside of the show, what I do with my label, is still important because I couldn’t sit on this panel if my label wasn’t having success outside of the show. I just couldn’t do it. So as long as you’re having hits, and in the label we’re finding artists, there’s no feeling like it. So, that’s a long winded way of saying yes, I do think it’ll last a little bit longer than I thought.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Number one, you have to say happy. Number two, relevant. If you achieve those two things and success then you’re in a good place because this business is tough. If I ever lost my taste, or the ability to spot an artist or a hit record, then I would stop really quickly. I wouldn’t try and hang on. But because I am still, almost obsessed with the idea of signing new talent, finding new talent, and I still enjoy it as much as I used to, then I hope to still be doing this in five or ten year’s time. Once you cross that middle line, if you’re still successful, you can use your experience to hopefully find the next person who is going to do my job. That is as fulfilling as finding an artist. You know, someone who starts off as an intern and ten years later is running your record label – that’s as valuable as finding an artist. I’d get a real kick out of that.
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