Reporting Courtney E. Smith
Since the departure of high profile X Factor judge Britney Spears and record exec L.A. Reid, speculation has run rampant as to who will join Simon Cowell’s U.S. judging panel. The question was answered today when the show announced its new judges will be Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio.
Judge Demi Lovato will also return for next season, rounding out the panel.
Cowell commented in a press release, saying, “It’s taken more than a decade, but I’m delighted to finally be on a panel with three girls (I think!). Paulina and Kelly both have great taste and massive experience in the music industry and together with Demi, this is going to be a fun panel. It just feels like the time to do something different.”
This duo certainly add something different to The X Factor. Rowland — a founding member of Destiny’s Child, an R&B solo star and the voice behind the massive dance hit “When Love Takes Over” with David Guetta — possesses variety but can potentially help identify R&B talent, which has gone unrecognized on the show this far. Rowland is no stranger to The X Factor family, having previously served on the panel for the U.K. show.
Rubio is a legend in Latin music and should assist The X Factor in tapping into the ever-growing Latino audience. While she doesn’t have the cross-over appeal of Jennifer Lopez on American Idol, she does have credibility that could potentially draw a segment of the viewing audience who haven’t considered X Factor previously.
Fox execs are throwing their support behind the new judges also. In a press release, Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company, said, “We are thrilled that Kelly and Paulina are joining Demi on the panel this season, in what is sure to be a triple threat of talented and successful women against Simon week-to-week.”
Until now the show has been on a downward slide in ratings, losing out to The Voice when the two shows went head to head last fall. They will face off again this fall, with both shows starting new cycles around the same time. With Christina Aguilera set to return to The Voice’s judging panel and Cee Lo’s commitment still up in the air, The X Factor is betting that Rowlands and Rubio can face off against them.