TORONTO – Reality show kingpin Simon Cowell says he’s keen to launch a Canadian version of his reality singing show “The X Factor.”
The brash music mogul says there’s more than enough talent to support a Maple Leaf spinoff that he would promote and possibly even appear on.
“Look at the Canadian talent that’s happened, you’d be crazy not to try and do something,” Cowell said Tuesday during a whirlwind visit to CTV headquarters in downtown Toronto.
The outspoken Brit, who serves as a judge on the U.S. version of “The X Factor,” says there’s no reason a Canadian show can’t launch the career of a superstar.
But he said the key is finding the right team he trusts and that “gets what’s going on in the market now.”
“It starts, I think, with a record label,” he said of possible partners.
“And could we get the money? Because you’ve got to get the cash. Have we got enough money to make the show compete with what you would see, say, from the States? Because we can’t make an inferior version. And can we do what we’ve set out to do? If we can get those two elements to agree then we’ve got somewhere to start.”
Cowell, who said he’d also be open to inviting Canadian contestants onto the U.S. series, said he’d spent the day hashing out spinoff possibilities with CTV executives.
Any deal would hinge on whether it was possible to assemble the right mentors.
“What I want to get to is (put) together a judging panel that can actually do the job they’ve been paid to do. Which is find that diamond in the rough. Change that person’s style of music to what he/she or they should be doing and creating a star,” said Cowell, dressed casually in loose blue jeans and a crisp white dress shirt that was open to mid-chest.
“Because for me that’s how I determine the success of one of these shows – has this show been the person that’s discovered and launched X? And frankly, in the past not enough of the shows have done it.”
Cowell dismissed Canada’s attempt to adapt that other televised singing contest on which he slung barbed critiques, “American Idol,” noting he was not impressed by “Canadian Idol.”
“For me it looked like a bad pastiche of what we were doing in the States,” he said, taking particular umbrage with the judging panel composed of Sass Jordan, Zack Werner, Farley Flex and Jake Gold.
“It was like they were trying to cast people. And it doesn’t work that way.”
Cowell criticized broadcasters with focusing too much on making a sensational TV show rather than finding an actual music star.
“You end up like ‘The Bachelor,”’ he said of that ratings-driven strategy.
“You’ll get a winner but who cares? Or ‘Survivor.’ That’s not why we made these shows in the first place.”
Still, Cowell admitted to courting eyeballs with the decision to bring Britney Spears and Demi Lovato to Season 2 of “The X Factor.” The pop stars join returning judge L.A. Reid when the show returns to CTV on Sept. 12.
In the meantime, Cowell said he was confident Canada has what it takes to make its own riveting version of the splashy contest.
“I don’t believe this attitude of, ‘We’re a smaller country, therefore we can’t compete with the U.K. or America.’ It’s nonsense,” he said.
“I would be the first to come here and I’d put my name out there and say to all the Canadians who want to enter: Look, maybe forget the past how it’s done, we’re going to do it in a slightly different way. I’m going to back you here financially because I believe that we can find a star. There has to be somebody listening to this who is that person. I have to believe that.”