With the second season over and auditions for the third season (which are scheduled to start on March 6, 2013 in L.A. and wrap on May 14, 2013 in Denver) rapidly approaching, its time to start making predictions for the judging panel and host(s) of The X Factor season 3.
At this point, it seems likely that Britney Spears will be asked to exit the show as a judge or at least to accept a pay cut. While it would seem absurd to say that she wasn't a successful judge, with her incredible act Carly Rose Sonenclar being the runner-up, and one of her other acts Diamond White finishing fifth, producers are reportedly disappointed with Spears' enthusiasm as a judge. Radar Online and US Weekly are both reporting that the $15 million that Spears received to judge the show's season was not a hugely worthwile investment, with Spears often appearing distracted and giving half-hearted claps and one-liner compliments to the show's contestants. If Spears were to return, she would need to accept a fairly major pay cut, which seems unlikely considering pay raises are usually imminent for judges when they agree to take part in an additional season. Spears' $15 million contract made her the highest payed singing show judge ever, and after watching the entire season, we can't say that Spears gave a $15 million effort. Despite this, Simon Cowell has stated that he would like to have Spears return. Our guess is that Spears will be fired as a judge.
While Spears' dismissal is fairly clear and likely, we can't say the same thing for Demi Lovato. While we can see and hope that Lovato will return for the next season, it seems as if the producers may be on-the-fence about renewing Lovato's contract for season 3. Lovato, who is 20, was the show's youngest and most inexperienced judge, however despite this, it would make sense to keep Lovato as a judge as she knows what youth audiences are listening to and can use this knowledge to her benefit as a judge. However, Lovato's last remaining act, CeCe Frey finished in sixth place, which left Lovato the first judge to have all her acts eliminated, making her the least successful judge. Lovato's pay was never revealed to the public, however it was estimated to be anywhere between $6 million - $13 million, making her a fairly cheap judge (when compared to Britney Spears), which would be a beneficial factor (pun intended) to keep her as a judge. Lovato has stated that she has "no idea what's gonna happen next season", nor does she think that anyone does. Lovato stated, "Just like L.A. is, I'm trying to build a career for my own too. It was an amazing experience and I loved doing the show," which may have hinted that she may not return for season 3, but she then went on to say "It's just, there's no way to tell. I have no idea". Our guess is that Lovato will be asked to return since she is an extremely popular figure in the youth demographic, however will likely suffer from a pay cut or a pay freeze.
On the other hand, hosts Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian Odom have both stated that they would like to return for the third season. Khloe has stated "Of course I [want to return], who wouldn't? It's a party!". Khloe stated that she likes to keep her fans in "suspense" and won't reveal whether she will return as a host for a while, hinting that she probably hasn't signed an official contract yet. Don't get us wrong - we love Khloe, but it seemed as if most of the time her co-host Mario Lopez was doing most of the talking while Khloe just stood there smiling at the camera. However, her performance as a host is warranted, as this is basically the first time that she ever hosted anything, while Mario has had tons of experience. Our guess is that Mario and Khloe will both be asked to return for season 3.
So, who will replace L.A. Reid (and possibly Spears)?
If our predictions were to be right, Lovato and Cowell would fill one chair for each gender, respectively, which would likely lead to the producers hiring 1 male judge and 1 female judge (unless they were to decide to take The Voice's route by hiring 3 of one gender and 1 of the other gender). Since Cowell serves as an older male judge, and Lovato serves as a younger female judge, it would make sense to hire an older female judge (over the age of 30) and a younger male judge (between the ages of 18 and 30).
To fill the older female judge seat, we think that Shania Twain, Fergie, Madonna, Celine Dion, Cher, Lady Gaga, and P!nk could all make valuable contributions to the show, with our personal favorite choice to be Shania Twain, however it would seem unlikely that Twain would join considering her involvement in her Las Vegas residency Shania: Still the One which is ongoing through 2013. Twain also has experience as a judge, as she appeared a guest judge during an episode of American Idol in 2010. Simon Cowell has expressed his interest for Twain to join the panel. Fergie, who Mario Lopez has suggested, could also be seriously considered as a judge, with The Black Eyed Peas currently on hiatus. Madonna would probably be an unlikely candidate due to her controversial antics, however her MDNA Tour has just wrapped up which would likely give her a free schedule. Celine Dion would probably be unlikely as well, due to her being occupied by the release of her album Water and a Flame, which is due out in April 2013, along with her participation in her Las Vegas residency Celine. Cher would likely be unlikely as well, due to her possibly becoming too old for the job, and her working on her broadway show, new album, and upcoming tour. Lady Gaga would also be fairly unlikely, as her contract would likely be ridiculously high, and her busy schedule including the continuation of her Born This Way Ball Tour, her upcoming album Artpop, and her documentary film. P!nk would be a more likely candidate to fill the seat. Although her The Truth About Love Tour will be taking place from February through September 2013, it wouldn't be difficult to cancel a few of these tour dates. Also, since live shows do not begin until October/November, she would have a clear schedule for the live episodes. Simon Cowell has also recruited Katy Perry, Jessica Simpson, and Kim Kardashian as judges. We feel that all 3 of these girls would be extremely unlikely candidates for judges. Perry shut down a $20 million offer to judge American Idol during its 2013 season due to a busy schedule, so it seems unlikely that she would agree to judge The X Factor. Jessica Simpson would also be unlikely, as just days ago she announced her second pregnancy, so it would be hard to work a schedule for filming a show around the birth of a child. Kim Kardashian also seems unlikely, since her sister Khloe is already hosting and if they were to hire Kim they might as well just fire all the other judges and hosts and just let the entire Kardashian clan take over the show. This is X Factor, not Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Our prediction is that Fergie or P!nk could be possible additions to the panel.
To fill the younger male judge seat, we think that Bruno Mars, Nick Jonas, Joe Jonas, and Ed Sheeran could all make valuable contributions to the panel and their schedules appear to be mainly empty.