'The X Factor' Interview: Kelly Rowland on Simon Cowell, the Judges' Chemistry and the Talent
'The X Factor' Interview: Kelly Rowland on Simon Cowell, the Judges' Chemistry and the Talent
Jeff Dodge
Jeff Dodge
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
The X Factor is back with two new judges joining Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato for season 3, following the departures of L.A. Reid and Britney Spears. One of the newbies, Kelly Rowland, who we all know from Destiny's Child, talked with reporters (including BuddyTV) about the chemistry among the judges this year, what her judging style is and if she has any advice for singers who want to be in her shoes someday. And read on to find out what she thinks of Simon as a new father-to-be.

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Simon Cowell Will Be a "Cool Dad"

What kind of father does Kelly think Simon will be? She says that he'll "be a pretty cool dad. I feel like he has guided so many people into their careers, and he has been like a father figure to several groups that he has put together, and I think that it is going to actually be a breeze for him."

She was surprised to hear the news at first, but she feels that "Life happens and this is part of life. And a new life will be here, and it just so happens it's going to be Simon's." I wonder if she'll be sending over a gift for the baby. 

Chemistry at the Judges' Table

Just as American Idol recently went through a season where there was a major lack of chemistry (particularly with Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj) on the panel, something similar befell season 2 of The X Factor -- more specifically, it was Britney Spears who barely talked, spoke in generic statements and had zero personality.

But it sounds like things will be different this time around. Not only does Kelly say they're having a lot of fun, but she seems to love that there's three women at the table with Simon being the lone guy. "It is the year of the woman. Women rule, men are just -- live there. Like Simon, looking like a sad puppy dog with three women on the panel is just sad; it's hilarious, actually!"

So what does she think of her fellow judges? "Paulina is adorable and witty and so beautiful," Kelly said. "Demi, you fall in love with her immediately. She is passionate, she has such a beautiful heart, and I love the way she leaves the contestants with something hopeful and something they can hold onto when they leave the audition, whether it's a yes or a no." And what about Simon? "Simon is very smart and I trust him. I think the rest of the world trusts him as well." A very diplomatic answer, indeed.

On any of these talent shows, the judges always seem to be pigeonholed into being certain types of judges. So how does Kelly go about judging the contestants -- does she have a particular judging style? When I asked this very question, she replied, "I am constructive when it comes to criticism. I am firm, but I like to be honest."

"And I remember coming up in the music industry and I ran into people who had some harsh things to say," she continued, "but I grew more from people who actually were constructive and gave details about how I can grow. I paid attention to those people and wanted to apply that to the way I'm a judge because it's about seeing people grow and be better and become something wonderful, and being honest with them if you possibly don't see something, either; but it's a tactful way of telling them to where you're not just killing someone's dream. We are not dream killers." Maybe she should tell that to Simon.

And while Kelly doesn't mind if a hot guy shows up on stage to audition, she won't necessarily put him through to the next round just because of his looks. "I've actually turned someone down because they had a wonderful look and they sounded awful. ... I'm not going to do that to the person that is auditioning because it won't be fair to them. I don't want them to just come into this competition thinking they can just get by on their looks; it's more than that. It's your talent, it's your passion, it's your hunger, it's your dedication."

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Season 3 Has the "Best Talent"

Now that we know what kind of a judge Kelly is, what does she think of the singers who have tried out this year? Are any of the categories stronger than the others? "The truth is that all the categories are super strong. ... It's going to be an incredible year. I think America will actually be surprised with how much talent we have in each group. ... The talent is real. It's so real and genuine when you listen to them."

She went on to say that the level of talent in season 3 is "shocking." She was most surprised to find that the younger singers are standing out. "That's what really got us. I remember the first two cities we went to, we were looking at all these 13 and 14-year-old kids who were so on it, like their voices, their stage presence, how passionate they were. But the ages are just so -- they're young and they're ready. .... It's something that these contestants possess this year that is so magnetic and that is what I love most about being here."

Following in Kelly Rowland's Footsteps

Kelly has had a lot of success over the years, from Destiny's Child and being a solo artist to acting and everything in between. I asked her if she has any advice for the contestants on The X Factor who would love to follow in her footsteps. She said, "Make sure you're doing it for the right reason. I feel like nowadays, fame and television, sometimes it can make everything look like it's just so glamorous. But what I do admire about the contestants on the show and my experience from X Factor in the UK is these contestants have a week to be prepared, to be ready for interviews, to be camera-ready, to get a makeover, to know the song, to know the placement on stage, to know a dance step. That's a lot."

She went on to say, "People are watching you each week and that's a lot and you're pushed a little big faster to grow. I admire them taking this on because it's a lot of pressure, but you either rise to the occasion or fall. Sometimes they'll fall because they didn't believe in themselves enough. I truly believe that sometimes as people we let ourselves get the best of us. I just hope the contestants know what a unique gift they have and that they're ready and excited and hungry and passionate enough to give it to the rest of the world."

The X Factor airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.

Want to add The X Factor to your very own watch-list? Download BuddyTV Guide for free for your phone.

(Image courtesy of WENN)

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