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Simon Cowell: “Cheryl still in the running for US X Factor...
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Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell

The U.S. version of the British smash “The X Factor” won’t even premiere until fall, and already the talent show is making headlines. You can thank show creator Simon Cowell for that, because the Brit knows how to create buzz and make headlines.

For instance, the show offers an astonishing $5 million recording contract to the victor, meaning you probably won’t see any Taylor Hicks-style winners. Last week, producer Antonio “L.A.” Reid was signed on to judge, and names like Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul and Cheryl Cole (from the U.K. version) have been tossed around for the other two spots on the panel.

Cowell, just as well-spoken as he was in his “American Idol” chair, talked about the show during a call from his California office.

Q: Does it matter if the remaining judges are British or American?

A: I don’t think it matters particularly. You know, a good singer is a good singer.

Q: So is Cheryl Cole still in the running?

A: She’s in the running, certainly. Cheryl’s a great judge and she did a fantastic job for three years in England. She’s incredibly popular and very talented, and I believe the American public would feel the same way about her as they do in England.

Q: Can you say who else is in the running?

A: (Long pause) I’m not going to. I’d probably offend somebody (by leaving them out). If you have been reading the stories, you’ve probably got the right names.


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