Since the dawn of time, or at least the dawn of televised competition shows, this much has been true: if people are gonna sing, somebody's gonna judge! Several people, in fact. The X Factor, which made its American debut in the fall of 2011, adheres to this historical precedent. Here are the judges for The X Factor U.S.A.!
The X Factor U.S.A.
Simon Cowell—Simon first made a splash this side of the pond with American Idol where he reigned as the toughest and snarkiest judge around. He later created The X Factor, which first aired in the U.K. He was a highly visible participant when the American version made its debut in 2011 and has remained so since.
Antonio "LA" Reid—Other than Simon, LA was the only judge to return after Season 1 of The X Factor U.S.A. He's a seasoned record producer and executive who has worked with such artists as Pink, Mariah Carey, and Usher. He's not a pushover as a judge, but he's way nicer than Simon!
Britney Spears—One of the biggest pop idols of the last twenty years. Not much more to be said! Her judging style is candid, uncensored, and often hilarious.
Demi Lavato—Another major pop idol. Everyone thought she and Britney would feud, but no major slugfests have occured. Demi tends to be gentler on the contestants than Britney.
Paula Adbul—Paula, who originally achieved fame as a dancer, choreographer, and singer, learned how to judge on a singing competition show during the first eight seasons of American Idol, right next to Simon. She was the nice one. When Simon started The X Factor U.S.A., it seemed only natural to bring her on board, but Paula's generous, often loopy method of criticism did not work on X Factor and she did not return for Season 2.
Nicole Scherzinger—What plays on one side of the Atlantic does not necessarily play on the other. Nicole, former lead singer for the Pussycat Dolls, was not a success as a judge on the first season of The X Factor U.S.A. (who can forget her disastrously strategic vote against the talented young Rachel Crow?) and she did not return for the second season, but she's not having the same difficulties judging The X Factor U.K. The strange thing is: Nicole was a replacement for another singer, Cheryl Cole, who left The X Factor U.S.A. after only three weeks.
Cheryl Cole—Singer Cheryl (see above) lasted only three weeks on the new American version of the show. She had previously judged on the U.K. version but she was ultimately, ironically, replaced there by Scherzinger.
Louis Walsh—Irish-born manager of pop recording talent who has been a judge on The X Factor U.K. since its first season in 2004. He filled in briefly for Simon Cowell during the Kansas City auditions for The X Factor U.S.A's second season when Simon was recovering from bronchitis.
Gary Barlow—Gary, a musician, record producer, and frontman for Take That, is judging his second season on The X Factor U.K.
Tulisa Contostavlos—This is Tulisa's second season as a judge. She is best known for being part of the hip-hop group N-Dubz.
Other judges during the first eight seasons of The X Factor U.K. have included:
Kelly Rowland—Kelly was once Beyonce's bandmate in Destiny's child. She also judged the Bravo reality series, Fashion Show, with Isaac Mizrahi.
Sharon Osbourne—Mrs. Ozzy is a seasoned competition judge, having spent time offering her opinions to America's Got Talent contestants as well as those on X Factor.
Cheryl Cole—The singer and songwriter first learned about singing competitions by appearing as a contestant on the British show, Popstars.
Dannii Minogue—The Australian-born singer-writer was an X Factor judge for four season