Simon Cowell, the ever-confident reality guru, is calling it now: The X Factor is going to be a huge hit.
“You do it because you want to be number one. “You don’t enter something for the silver medal,” the TV producer/judge says of his expectations to not only meet the success of American Idol with his new venture, but surpass it. “We’re going to try and make it the best show on TV.”
There’s a lot on the line for the new talent competition, another singing contest Cowell has imported from Britain.
The winner is guaranteed $5 million cash in addition to a recording contract and a Pepsi-sponsored commercial to run during the Super Bowl.
“If I didn’t think that the talent was worth $5 million in America, I wouldn’t have made the show in America,” the famously direct Brit says.
Despite its pedigree, Cowell insists that this is not an Idol clone.
The X Factor is open to both solo artists and groups, ages 12 and up.
Contestants will be broken up into four categories: girls ages 12 and 30, boys ages 12 and 30, individuals over 30, and groups.
Also, the judges panel — including Cowell, Idol mate Paula Abdul, former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and record producer L.A. Reid — will serve as mentors.
“We see this as a game-changer,” Cowell says. “We’re going to try and find a completely different kind of contestant. Our job as judges is to find people who’ve got star quality, and turn them into stars. And I’ve got a panel who can do that.”