With Simon Cowell swinging the axe like a drunken woodsman this week, people have started wondering who will be replacing Nicole Sherzinger, Paula Abdul and to a lesser extent Steve Jones in next year’s US X Factor. Abdul became the latest casualty this morning and explained that she left the show for “business reasons” (she was vaguer than an Elbow song).
In fact the only person that Cowell hasn’t sacked (apart from himself) is LA Reid and that’s possibly because he’s scared that the music producer ‘knows people’. Ryan Seacrest looks certain to be hosting next
fall autumn, but which ladies will be stepping on to the panel to join Simon and ..ermm.. LA?
1. Cheryl Cole
After being ditched a few weeks into last year’s show, Cheryl’s name is being thrown around like a dwarf at a rugby player’s stag-night this morning. Everyone knows that Cowell likes working with the Northern singer, but Cheryl has engaged in a very public stand-off with the music boss after being publically shafted last summer. But aside from a C4 fashion series, Cole’s calendar is pretty clear and she may find the bright lights of Hollywood difficult to resist, especially as she would have the chance to prove some people wrong. Yet with Cowell already speaking of a ‘Brit limit’ and Fox producers unable to understand the Girls Aloud star, she remains an outsider.
2. Nicki Minaj
The rapper’s name has been mentioned a few times this week and she could open up a new audience share for Fox as they battle to achieve that magic 20 million viewers mark. Cowell has also said he is keen to “take the show in a different direction”, which translates as “We need some more interesting ladies on the panel”. Minaj could fit the bill..
3. Mariah Carey
Cowell has made no secret of his desire to get the diva on-board and she would undoubtedly be his first choice if she agreed to appear. Unlike Sherzinger and Abdul, Carey also has a proven track-record as a solo artist and Fox could probably afford her, even if they have to meet the outrageous demands she has for her dressing room. Apparently when on tour, Carey insists a new toilet seat and gold faucets are installed in her hotel suite before she checks in. Flies in her own personal bed linens and must have enough of a certain kind of mineral water so she and her dog can bathe in it each day. Also, when on tour Mariah’s dressing room must contain one box of bendy straws, two air purifiers, puppies and kittens (oh dear Lord), an attendant to take her used chewing gum and Cristal champagne.
4. Kelly Rowland
The former Destiny’s Child singer has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Abdul and Sherzinger, mainly because she’s done it before and she’s American. Having said that, Rowland hardly shone during her time on the British show and managed to lose the competition despite landing the strongest category. Listening to her call-in sick on live TV was possibly her nadir and the British public certainly wouldn’t miss her or her absurd turn of phrase. Sign her up Cowell!
5. Katy Perry
Behind Carey, Perry is being lauded as a hot favourite to join the panel and with her star rising astronomically – despite a split with Russell Brand – she could be the kind of high profile addition that Cowell is looking for. She’s also American, has a strong personality and impressed when she guest judged on the UK’s X Factor recently.
6. Louis Walsh
‘Old Father X Factor’ could save the American show and although he’s already signed up for this year’s British series, Cowell could easily pull some strings and get his mate across to the US. He would also bring some much needed novelty content to the US version (all of last year’s finalists could actually sing! What was that all about!?). His chances could be hampered by the fact that he’s an old, weird, Irish bloke and Fox are looking for a young, cool, American lady, but apart from that he’s golden.
7. Alicia Dixon
If Dixon does well on this year’s Britain’s Got Talent (which shouldn’t be hard when you remember that her predecessor was David Hasselhoff) Cowell could bring her stateside to run the rule over America’s finest musical talent. She may not be a big name in the states, but she would be cheap and she might be a prudent option if you’ve blown most of your budget on the contents of Mariah Carey’s dressing room.
8. Shania Twain
The country singer who recorded the tenth most popular album in music history, certainly has the musical clout to make it as a judge, but Cowell may be reluctant to hire another middle-aged woman to the panel (especially when you consider how ancient he and LA are). Twain could open up new audiences to the show though. Do hill-billies have televisions?
9. Russell Brand
Everyone knows that drama + conflict = ratings. Hire Perry and then sign-up her ditched lover (who as it goes, has a decent rep in the states thanks to some good film roles and a bit of award-hosting). Simples.
10. Sarah Palin
No-one knows less about everything than Sarah Palin, but the American people can’t seem to get enough of this right-wing crackpot, so Cowell could controversially sign up the Tea Party nutbar for his lacklustre judging panel. She’d certainly have more to say for herself than Abdul and Sherzinger. Watching her lose her shit over gay contestants, ‘gratuitous grinding’ and the fact that she has to work with a black man would be priceless as well.