'The X Factor' Adds Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio as Season 3 Judges
'The X Factor' Adds Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio as Season 3 Judges
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The annual X Factor judging panel facelift is complete. Former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland and Mexican singer Paulina Rubio have joined the FOX reality competition as the newest judges.

They join permanent judge Simon Cowell and returning judge Demi Lovato, replacing outgoing judges L.A. Reid and Britney Spears. In season 2, Lovato and Spears were brought in to replace Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger. In season 1, host Scherzinger was transferred to the judging panel after Cheryl Cole left.

This makes nine judges in three seasons for The X Factor, which seems desperate at this point. American Idol was able to succeed because it had a solid trio of judges for the first seven seasons. The fact that The X Factor has to keep tossing out half of its judges to find new ones every year is easily one of the many reasons the show has failed to catch on, ratings-wise, and why season 3 won't be much different.

It also doesn't help that these new judges have little-to-no cred amongst viewers and singers. Kelly Rowland's most notable contribution to music is being one of the girls in Destiny's Child who wasn't Beyonce. As Mercedes Jones said in the pilot of Glee, "I'm Beyonce! I ain't no Kelly Rowland." Even fictional characters use her as a punchline.  

Rowland's reality TV career is spotty at best. She was one of the choirmasters on NBC's Clash of the Choirs, where her choir finished in last place. She hosted the first season of Bravo's The Fashion Show, but was replaced in season 2 by supermodel Iman. More recently she was a dance master on the Australian series Everybody Dance Now which got canceled in season 1 due to low ratings. And she served as a judge on the U.K. version of The X Factor for one season.

Rubio is a Mexican singer who has topped the charts for the past decade. She's currently one of the coaches on La Voz Kids, Telemundo's spin-off of The Voice for child singers. It's interesting that FOX seems to be mining other versions of The Voice for judging talent, as American Idol's Keith Urban was a coach on the first season of the Australian version of The Voice.

Here's a helpful S.A.T. analogy: Paulina Rubio is to Shakira as Kelly Rowland is to Beyonce. So congratulations, The X Factor, for getting two new judges who not only make Demi Lovato look super famous, but who probably come with a combined price tag less than one-quarter of what Britney got last season. Hiring cheap, no-name judges is probably the only way The X Factor can make any real money to justify its existence.

And now that the panel has three women, does anyone want to make a bet on how long it takes the show to do a Charlie's Angels parody with Simon's voice on the speaker? The X Factor season 3 airs this fall Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)