Kelly Rowland’s claim to fame as a founding member of Destiny’s Child, with the band selling 60 million records worldwide and becoming a singing sensation. The 32 year-old is currently one of the judges on the X-Factor USA Season 3 which premiered on September 21 at 9 pm on BIG CBS LOVE. She tells us more about the show.
Being an artist yourself, does it make it easier or harder to be a judge?
Given my career background, I’m able to see certain things, to be honest. All of my experiences actually have prepared me for this moment. And if I feel like I’m seeing a piece of myself or a bad habit or something in a contestant, I’ll be able to point it out and hopefully help them to move from there, to grow from there. That’s why I’m here. That’s why they call us mentors.
Do you think the American version will be different from the UK version?
The accents are different (smiles). I think the major difference is that Simon wasn’t there when I did UK X Factor; that’s really basically it to me. With the US X Factor, we tend to be well-rehearsed and we just want to be so perfect – and you have to admire that – but sometimes the raw talent that comes in from a U.K. pub or a London pub is actually even more intriguing and interesting. We had a kid that came in who had the best of both and he is just remarkable.
What is the toughest part of judging for you?
The toughest part is when you have to say no to somebody or letting someone go. One thing that I had to remember from my personal journey in the music industry was how many times I was told no. I was signed, I was dropped, I was signed, and I was put on a shelf. There are so many things that are dynamic once you get into in the music industry. I just remembered all of that and I wanted to put that forth through this opportunity of being a judge on The X Factor.
What is the X-factor you look for in a contestant?
You just see it in people’s eyes. You just see how bad they want it, you see how hard they are willing to work, and you have to admire that and you have to give them a shot. That’s why I love the auditions, because you actually start the weeding out process of people who actually sound good. You go by their feel, by their charisma when they’re talking to you, as well as how the audience takes to them. You’re taking in all of that and you’re separating everybody. You continue to go through that process to live shows and you see who everyone picks and you see who is willing to work the hardest.
Have your ever been a contestant in a show similar to The X Factor?
It was. I was on Star Search and I got three and a quarter stars with my group that I was with at the time. We were called Girls Time. It was myself, Beyonce and some friends that we went to school with, and we got on Star Search. We lost. I remember what that three and a quarter stars felt like. Once that red curtain closed we were like little sad puppy dogs, just bawling our little eyes out. We were so sad. When we got to the hotel, I remember our parents going, “What do you guys want to do? You want to go to Disneyland?” Our eyes dried up so fast, it wasn’t funny. We were really just sad, but I truly believe that when it’s your time, it’s your time. When you’re prepared, you are ready for it. You really are.
Are you afraid you might overlook real talent over glamour?
I am completely honest with myself when it comes to talent. I’ve actually turned someone down because they had a wonderful look and they sounded awful. I am not going to do that to myself and to my integrity. I’m not going to even do that to the person that is auditioning because it won’t be fair to them. I don’t want them to just come into this competition thinking they can just get on by their looks; it’s more than that. It’s your talent, it’s your passion, it’s your hunger, it’s your dedication.
Your thoughts on the changing scenario in the music scene today and how you fare in it?
I make music that I love. I have a fan base, and I think that music also continues to change. You are allowed as an artist to be creative, and sometimes it clicks and sometimes it does not. When it clicks, you run with it. You just never know what happens.