As if Simon Cowell or L.A. Reid were going to be tricked into addressing any of the rumors that [insert pop star here] would be the next X Factor judge or host after the mass exodus a little bit back. Here's a rundown of what they did say, though, on a conference call today:
On the new judges, hosts and that shebang:
All those rumors about people being interested in a judge spot? Probably true, at least the part about people being interested. As far as who the two hosts are, all Cowell and Reid said was that they are two women, which narrows down... not much.
As for the hosts, Cowell said the show picked one male and one female--the original plan, with Steve Jones and Nicole Scherzinger filling those roles.
But then, he also said this: "I do think it's important that we have more Americans on the show." Extrapolate if you'd like. Simon himself joked that the comment might make him "lose his job," so it's fair game.
On groups in general and One Direction in particular:
One Direction, of course, being the British boy band, X Factor third-placers, Brit Award recipients and people who are actually charting in the States now. They and fellow British boy bands The Wanted may well be kicking off, Simon said, "a very exciting phase of pop music." The problem, of course, is that America treated groups roughly like they treat waste paper; Cowell said there'd be a "significant difference in the quality of the groups this year." (He also said they were looking for a next 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys, Destiny's Child or TLC, which, y'know,  on the last two considering last year's glut of coulda-been-contender girl groups.)
On albums, singles, etc.:
Chris Rene's single is out now, Marcus Canty's will be out in what Reid said was two weeks, Astro's currently recording with Pharrell and Melanie's working on her non-soda commercial debut. Reid: "We don't believe that we can microwave artists and start them overnight. We're patient enough to take the right amount of time and do this properly."