At a Monday night "X Factor" press conference held ahead of this week's season-two finale, questions continued to swirl about the future of the show with the recent announcement of L.A. Reid's departure and the ratings decline this season.
Who will replace Reid come season three? Who will the finalists duet with in the finale? What does Britney Spears think about her time on the "X Factor"? To answer those questions, we've wrapped up the five things we learned during Monday night.
LeAnn Rimes, Little Big Town and Demi Lovato will take the stage.
"I think this will be the closest finals that I've ever been involved in," Simon said, adding that he'll still be pulling for his group Fifth Harmony. "I think anyone can pull it off on the night and I'm still going to be backing my girls to win this." And with the competition being so close, the judges revealed whom the contestants would duet with in the season finale.
"LeAnn Rimes is singing with me and I'm very excited about that," said 13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar. "I think she is amazing and her voice is really, really special. I'm psyched."
Tate Stevens revealed he's keeping it country heading into the finals by performing with Little Big Town. Mentor Reid added, "It'll be a bonfire."
"It's kind of irritating to say but the person we decided to duet with is Demi Lovato," Simon announced.
Never the one to give just a compliment, Simon added, "But then again she didn't have much else to do on the show because she hasn't got anyone else in the finals, I felt that she needed something to do. And after listening to your constant carping on about my contestants, the fact that I can now judge you, I can't wait."
Nothing has been decided for the third season — except that L.A. Reid is leaving.
With Reid officially announcing that he will not be returning to the judging panel, what additional changes can we expect for season three? "I don't sit here plotting next year," Cowell said. "It's a committee decision and everybody has a say."
He continued by adding, "I think the panel has done really well this year. On a personal level I'm going to miss LA Reid, and on a business level I'm going to miss him because he's a brilliant record maker."
Pivoting back to the current season and its finalists Simon also said, "It's much more important I spend my time and focus with the contestants because they need this because it's a fantastic break for all of them and that's going to be my priority. Once we get past the next couple of days then we'll think about next year, after a very long holiday in the Caribbean," leaving any questions about the future of "X Factor" to be answered another day.
Cowell and company expected the ratings to decline this year
When asked about the show's ratings decline this season, Simon made it clear what he thought was to blame: NBC's competing singing show, "The Voice"
"We were expecting there was going to be a problem with the ratings this year, not just with us but with everything, because it's overkill, there are way too many talent shows on," Cowell explained. "Once 'The Voice' decided to go Monday, Tuesday and we were Wednesday, Thursday — I use the expression it's like having 14 sugars in your coffee when you want two."
"I've done this for 10 years," he said, explaining the ups and downs that every television show faces. "The one thing that's the most important is the legacy you leave behind each year. The legacy we're going to leave behind is strong, not just with (Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar and Fifth Harmony) but also with artists like Emblem3. That's what we're judged on."
Britney Spears actually opened up about her "X Factor" experience
Even the normally reserved Britney Spears got into the spirit of the press conference when she was asked about her experience with "The X Factor."
"It's been even better for me, the whole experience," Britney said. "It's opened me up to so many different things and just how many gifted people that are out there. It's been a really special experience for me," saying more in this reply than any one of her judging critique throughout the season.
Simon Cowell really, really doesn't like "The Voice"
If one insult wasn't enough during a 20-minute press conference, Simon continued to press his one-man vendetta against the singing show by taking a perfectly innocent question ("If you had three wishes that could be granted, regarding the future of 'X Factor', what would it be?") and lobbying yet another verbal assault.
"Wish #1, the chairs on 'The Voice' never turn around because they don't like anyone."
Fortunately, he ended the press conference on a positive note saying, "Wish #2, that Fifth Harmony win and wish #3 that all of these contestants have successful careers going forward."