As of now, "The X Factor" executive producer Simon Cowell is the only judge confirmed for "The X Factor" U.S. in 2013. The show is televised in the U.S. on Fox. Representatives for "The X Factor" U.S. will only say that the decisions have not been made yet about who else will be on the show's judging panel in 2013.
Spears and Demi Lovato joined "The X Factor" U.S. in May 2012, as replacements for fired judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger. Spears announced her "X Factor" departure in January 2013. It still has not been announced yet if Lovato will continue to be a judge on the show in 2013, but she said in a February 2013 interview with "Extra" that she would say yes if the show asked her. Antonio "L.A." Reid was an "X Factor" U.S. judge from 2011 to 2012. He quit the show in December 2012 because he said he wanted more time to focus on his main job as chairman/CEO of Epic Records.
Sources say that Cowell and other "X Factor" decision makers want to keep a balance of the sexes on the judging panel, so there will continue to be two male judges and two female judges on the show.
Insiders also say that Fox renewed "The Factor" U.S. for a third season on condition that the show drastically reduce its spending in 2013. That means whoever replaces Spears will not be paid nearly as much as her reported $15 million "X Factor" salary. That salary turned out be a waste after Spears polarized viewers, got mostly negative reviews from TV critics, and failed to increase ratings for the show.
In fact, ratings dropped 25 percent after Spears joined the show in 2012. According to the Nielsen Company, ratings for "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011 were an average of 12 million U.S. viewers per episode, but those ratings decreased in 2012 to an average of 8 million U.S. viewers per episode.
Insiders say that the judge who replaces Spears will be most likely be paid between $1 million and $9 million for the year, depending on the levels of fame and experience that the person has. Lovato's "X Factor" salary in 2012 was said to be a little more than $1 million. If Lovato's "X Factor" contract is renewed for 2013, she will likely get a salary raise.
Fox televises "The X Factor" U.S. from September to December. Prerecorded episodes are filmed from March to September in various U.S. cities. The show's live episodes (which take place in Los Angeles) begin in late October or early November.
The entire "X Factor" U.S. judging panel for 2013 should be announced by May, when auditions begin in front of the judges. The 2013 auditions dates in front of the judges are to be announced, but they will take place in the same cities where the open-call auditions take place. The judges do not attend the open-call auditions, where "X Factor" producers select the contestants who go on to the next round of auditioning in front of the judges.
So who will replace Spears?
Osbourne (a longtime talent manager in the music industry) was a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. from 2004 to 2007 and a judge on "America's Got Talent" from 2007 to 2012. (Cowell is an executive producer of "The X Factor" and "Got Talent" shows worldwide.)
British tabloids have been reporting for months that Osbourne has been in talks to go back to being a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2013. And indeed, Osbourne announced on Twitter in August 2012 that she wanted her old job back on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2013. But she made that announcement when Spears was still a judge on "The X Factor" U.S.
Now that "The X Factor" U.S. needs to replace Spears and there's a job opening on the panel, insiders say that Osbourne could be a top contender if she wants to stay primarily based in the Los Angeles area.
According to several sources, Sharon Osbourne has been conflicted about going back to "The X Factor" U.K., because although the Osbourne family has homes in the U.S. and the U.K., they live primarily in the Los Angeles area, where Sharon's three kids want her to remain primarily based. Being a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. would require Sharon to spend about six months out of the year in the U.K.
Osbourne's son, Jack, has multiple sclerosis; he and his wife, Lisa, have a baby daughter named Pearl, who born in August 2012. There are personal issues involved if Sharon decides to take a job that would be too far away from Jack and Pearl.
Since 2010, Sharon has also been co-hosting the CBS daytime chat show "The Talk," which is filmed on weekdays in Los Angeles. If she became a judge on "The X Factor" U.S., she could conceivably still remain on "The Talk," which often accommodated her with several leaves of absence when she had "America's Got Talent" duties. She would not be able to get those leaves of absence if she became a judge on "The X Factor" U.K.
As for Grammy-winning R&B singer Blige, her highly publicized tax troubles have put her in a financial position where being paid millions to be an "X Factor" judge would be easier for her than doing a tour in order to pay off her debts. Insiders say that "The X Factor" U.S. is looking at Blige as a possible candidate to replace Spears. Blige not only has credibility as a singer and songwriter, but she also has previous talent-show experience, since she's been a guest mentor on "American Idol" and "The Voice" U.S.
And in October 2012, Blige personally called "The X Factor" U.K. contestant James Arthur to give him advice when he decided to perform her hit "No More Drama." Two months later, Arthur went on to become the 2012 winner of "The X Factor" U.K.
Insiders say that there is less interest in country singer LeAnn Rimes, who was in talks to become a judge on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2012. Although Rimes is also a Grammy winner who has sold millions, she is very controversial and unpopular with a large percentage of the audience because of her "homewrecker" image. (Rimes and her second husband, Eddie Cibrian, got romantically involved while they were still married to other people. Rimes has made several public apologies for being an adultress.)
"The X Factor" U.S. has been actively trying to market itself more to females, but females are Rimes' biggest critics. Rimes may be interested in replacing Spears, but "X Factor" executives are said to be wary about having Rimes as a judge on the show because she might alienate a great deal of females in the show's audience.
Rimes performed a controversial duet of "How Do I Live" with 13-year-old contestant Carly Rose Sonenclar on "The X Factor" U.S. Season 2 finale on December 19, 2012. Rimes got terrible reviews for her performance, and many viewers speculated that she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the duet, but Rimes denied those accusations.
As for who will replace Reid, Grammy winning artist/songwriter/producer Ne-Yo has confirmed that he has been in talks to become an "X Factor" U.S. judge. However, Ne-Yo is an A&R executive for Universal Music's Motown Records and he would have to get out of that contract in order to work for "The X Factor," which is partnered with Sony Music, one of Universal Music's competitors. Reid had to quit his job as chairman of Island Def Jam Music Group (which is also owned by Universal Music) in order to become an "X Factor" judge. Reid later became chairman/CEO of Epic Records, which is owned by Sony Music.
The A&R aspect of Ne-Yo's Universal Music contract makes it a conflict of interest for him to work for "The X Factor" as long as he is under contract with Universal. Blige and Scherzinger (who is now a judge on "The X Factor" U.K.) are both signed to Universal Music's Interscope Records, but they don't have A&R positions at the company, so it's not a conflict of interest for them to become judges on "The X Factor."
Meanwhile, there have been plenty of other names in the rumor mill about who could become judges on "The X Factor" U.S, but the celebrities listed below are definitely not in the running for the job. Keep in mind that due to budget cuts, anyone who joins Cowell on "The X Factor" U.S. judging panel in 2013 is likely to be paid between $1 million and $9 million for the year.
- Beyoncé -- She's too busy, too expensive for the show, and she has gone on record saying that she never wants to be a judge on a talent show, but she will be guest mentor, as long as it means she doens't have to personally eliminate contestants.
- Katy Perry -- She's too busy, too expensive for the show, and she said in interviews that she's not interested in the job at this stage in her career.
- Fergie -- She's due to give birth to her first child in August or September 2013, which is not convenient for the show's schedule. She also said that she turned down offers to be an "X Factor" U.S. judge in 2011 and 2012.
- Pink -- She said she turned down offers to be a judge on "The X Factor," "The Voice" and "American Idol."
- Madonna -- She's too busy, too expensive, and not interested.
- Dolly Parton -- She says she never wants to be a judge on a talent show because she would find it too hard to eliminate contestants.
- Rihanna -- She's too busy and too expensive.
- Cheryl Cole -- She's has publicly said many times that that she doesn't want to be an "X Factor" judge again.
- Toni Braxton -- She says she's lost interest in the music business.
- Cher -- She's too expensive.
- Janet Jackson -- She's too expensive.
- Lady Gaga -- Even though she's been sidelined from touring because of health problems, she's too expensive for "The X Factor." She's also very loyal to Interscope Geffen A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine, who is a resident mentor for "American Idol."
- Aretha Franklin -- Her fear of flying and ongoing health problems make her an unlikely candidate.
- Kelly Clarkson -- She says she doesn't want to be a judge on a talent show that humiliates people by showing bad auditions.
- Shania Twain -- She's too busy with her Las Vegas show.
- Celine Dion -- She's too expensive.
- Gwen Stefani -- She's very loyal to "American Idol's" Iovine, and she's probably too expensive for "The X Factor" anyway.
- Queen Latifah -- She's too busy with her talk show that will debut in the fall of 2013.
- Adele -- She says she never wants to be a judge on a talent show. She's also too expensive for "The X Factor."
- Reba McEntire -- She's busy with her ABC show "Malibu Country."
- Jon Bon Jovi -- He's not interested and he's too busy.
- George Michael -- He says he never wants to be a judge on a talent show because he would find it too hard to eliminate contestants.
- Elton John -- He has been a longtime critic of "The X Factor," and Cowell says he has no interest in asking him to be a judge on the show. "The X Factor" probably couldn't afford John anyway.
- Chris Brown -- He's too busy, too controversial, and probably not interested.
- Clive Davis -- He's too old for "The X Factor." (He's 80.)
- Sean "Diddy" Combs -- He's too expensive. He also likes to be the star/executive of his own reality shows, not an employee.