Simon Cowell admitted he made a mistake when he hired Britney Spears to be a judge on “The X Factor.”
The reason: She “couldn’t talk,” he told Ellen DeGeneres on her daytime talk show on Tuesday. Spears was a judge last season — the Fox show’s second season — but she won’t be back this week when the show returns for Season Three on Wednesday and Thursday night.
“She was fine,” Cowell said when DeGeneres asked him about Britney. “I just think she found it very uncomfortable.”
“Yeah,” agreed Ellen, “she’s not a big talker.”
“I didn’t realize that!” Simon said. “I kind of booked someone who couldn’t talk, which is a bit of a problem when you want someone to judge.
“She wasn’t comfortable being negative,” he said. “She didn’t like it when the contestants spoke back to her. I liked her [but] she was just uncomfortable.” Though she lasted only one season on the show, Spears was paid a reported $15 million.
Cowell talked about another now-former “X Factor” personality on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Tuesday. Kimmel didn’t ask Simon about Britney; instead, Kimmel wanted to know why Khloe Kardashian didn’t work out as the show’s co-host (with Mario Lopez). Kardashian was on the show in Season Two, but she won’t be back this week for Season Three.
“I liked her,” Simon said of Khloe. “I just don’t think the audience accepted a Kardashian as a host.” When pressed by Kimmel to explain why that was, Cowell demurred, saying simply that he doesn’t know why viewers rejected her.
Cowell also revealed that he sings on Thursday’s episode of “The X Factor” — a first for a man who has made a career out of critiquing the singing of others.
As for the other hot topic on the table concerning Cowell this summer — his impending fatherhood with a woman who is the estranged wife of a man who was reportedly Cowell’s friend — Cowell is describing the situation as hunky-dory in his talk-show appearances promoting “The X Factor’s” new season.
As he did last week on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Cowell said on “Ellen” that he couldn’t be happier.
“It was kind of uncomfortable — you know, the situation,” Cowell said on “Ellen” about the tabloid frenzy that erupted in late July over the story. “But these things happen,” he said breezily. “Everything is kind of calm now and I’m happy. I’m actually happier than I’ve ever been.”
On “Kimmel,” Cowell said he doesn’t intend to change diapers or wake up in the middle of the night to feed the baby. He voiced a preference for hiring nannies to do that, he told Kimmel.
“Do you have to do that?” he said when Kimmel asked if he would undertake these tasks. “Don’t you just pay people to do that?”
“You probably will!” Kimmel answered.