In a media conference call on Wednesday, Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid confirmed that Whitney Houston was on their radar to join The X Factor to fill one of the spots left open when Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger were fired. “We love Whitney and we would have certainly considered it, but the truth is it never quite came to that,” said Reid. “There was an interest there, but we never actually had meetings about it. We’re both huge fans of Whitney and we’re very sad about the loss of Whitney, but we didn’t really get that far so I don’t think it’s proper to comment beyond that.”
“We’re going to continually pay tribute to Whitney Houston on this show, because we love her, we love her songs, and there probably won’t ever be a season when you won’t hear a Whitney song,” added Cowell, calling her songs timeless. “The songs are going to sound as good in 50 years’ time as they do now. Whether we ever find anyone as good as her, that’s a whole different ballgame. But it’s going to be a very different feeling when you hear artists come out and sing Whitney’s songs, because she’s not around anymore.”
Cowell, who hopes to confirm judges over the next few weeks, wouldn’t comment on rumors that Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and Fergie were in talks with the show. “The only thing that you can count on is that we would likely have two girls,” said Reid. Two people — one male, one female — will replace host Steve Jones, which was Cowell’s original plan. Scherzinger was hired as Jones’s co-host before she was shifted to judge.
Cowell and Reid proudly discussed the success of their season one singers, five of whom, besides winner Melanie Amaro, now working on her debut album, have scored record deals. Marcus Canty is releasing a single in two weeks, Chris Rene has one out now, Astro is recording with Pharrell and other producers, Josh Krajcik signed with Sony and Rachel Crow has deals with Syco/Columbia and Nickelodeon for a recurring role on Fred: The Show. “Rachel’s one of a few who are going to have great careers off the back of this,” predicted Cowell. “From the beginning we always felt that she had what it takes to become a major star. She did have the ‘X Factor,’” added Reid.
Season two auditions for The X Factor begin March 1 at mall booths around the country and online at www.theXFactorUSA.com, with open calls beginning in Kansas City, Missouri, March 14.
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