On the Scene: The X Factor Auditions Reveal Judges' Chemistry, Upcoming Changes

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Kelly Rowland, Demi Lovato, Paulina Rubio and Simon Cowell | Photo Credits: Ray Mickshaw/Fox
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Kelly Rowland, Demi Lovato, Paulina Rubio and Simon Cowell | Photo Credits: Ray Mickshaw/Fox

The X Factor is hoping the third time's the charm when the Fox reality competition series returns this fall with new faces Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio joining Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato on the judges' panel. The infectious chemistry between the four was immediately apparent during Thursday's auditions in Los Angeles with Lovato and Rubio dancing together before the taping, Rowland storming the stage to teach a rapping grandmother how to "twerk," and all three women ganging up on Cowell when they didn't agree with his snarky comments. "They are little devils," Cowell told reporters with a grin. "I love difficult girls and I've met my match. I respect them and you see and hear things in a different way than you have before. It's just a very different experience."

It's a welcome change of pace after last year's arguably lifeless dais featuring record executive L.A. Reid and pop superstar Britney Spears. "You can't compare it because they're different people," said Lovato, who admitted to being more comfortable in her second year as a judge. "There were two guys and two girls, but now having two [more] women on the panel balances it out a little bit because now the women are outweighing the diva! And this year I've just really connected with Kelly and Paulina. We actually have really deep, heart-to-heart conversations at lunch and I respect them."

That sisterly bond was an important element to Cowell, who admitted he did not want to repeat the mistake that American Idol made last season with the addition of bickering judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. "I think we've learned from other shows that we can't have a panel if they start hating each other's guts. It's so uncomfortable," Cowell said. "So getting the casting right was key."

Along with the new judges, Cowell revealed that more changes are in store when the show moves past the auditions rounds, including how the judges themselves interact with the contestants. "There are so many shows now, and I think the danger is they can all start looking and feeling like the same show," Cowell said. "A lot of things we did last year we can't do anymore like [use] the word 'mentors.' Every show now has bloody mentors. I don't think it fits us anymore. We're more like partners working with the talent properly like you would as a record label. It's about finding people who can sell records all over the world."

Will you tune in to the new X Factor this fall?

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