VIBE caught up with X Factor judge L.A. Reid on a recent conference call, where he dropped some gems on what's to expect for the rest of the season. He chats why his team can win, Chris Rene and how reality TV complements the a&r process.
On Why His Team Can Win
I think that my guys are very unique. I think, as an example, Astro being a 15-year-old rapper who entered the competition doing original material, as far as I know, now I could be wrong, but I think that’s a very unique approach and it may be a first. So, I like his uniqueness. Phillip Lomax—for a guy to be 22 years old, and to have been so influenced by an era of Frank Sinatra and others, I find that pretty fascinating. So, I think he is a very unique guy and he has a great shot. Marcus Canty is just a great singer. All I can tell you is that Marcus is a great singer, and ultimately I’m moved by talent and I really love his talent. And, Chris Rene, who is arguably the most popular contestant in the competition, is just really special and also entered the competition with original material and has this style that’s somewhere between singing and rapping. He’s just a really special guy and a really lovable guy with an interesting voice and an interesting story. So, I feel really good about the contestants and the guys in my category.
On Chris Rene
Chris Rene has been one of the most popular contestants on this show thus far. So, the only thing that was difficult was the fact that my category had so many guys that I really liked and some really incredible talent, and just narrowing it down to four was a very tough thing. But Chris was always a standout from his very first audition and I’m really happy to have him.
On Simon Cowell's Team
I would have probably made—I won’t trash talk his decisions, but I have a very different taste than Simon, so I may have made some very different choices, but Simon is incredible and the most experienced guy at doing what we’re doing here with The X Factor and with talent competition on television. So, I’m actually here to learn and watch and see exactly what Simon does, but my taste is different, so I would have made some different choices.
On Reality Shows Replacing A&R
It’s an enhancement because it doesn’t replace A&R. If we look at the charts today, if we look at the most popular songs in the world today, you’ll see that they are largely made up of artists that are found through traditional sources, right? And yet, we do have some talent that is developed from TV reality contests, but for the most part, it hasn’t changed much.
The good news is that between X Factor and other talent competitions and things like YouTube, we now have more resources for talent, and as a record executive, what we’re looking for are more opportunities to discover talent. So, for us, it’s only an enhancement, but clearly not a replacement.