The X Factor: 7 Things We Learned From Simon Cowell and the Judges at TCA 2011
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The X Factor

The X Factor: 7 Things We Learned From Simon Cowell and the Judges at TCA 2011

"I don't hear any applause," Simon Cowell immediately said after being introduced, via satellite, during the X Factor panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

Ah Simon, good to know you're still so ... Simon!

He was later joined by fellow judges Paula Abdul, L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger, as well as host Steve Jones and the show's producers. But first, Cowell had plenty to say about why thinks The X Factor will rule this fall.

"We see this as a game-changer," he told reporters, when asked about the differences between X Factor and American Idol. "We're going to try to change the rules, we're going to try to find a completely different kind of contestant."

He added, "You don't enter something for the silver medal. You do it because you want to be no. 1."

Here are a few other tidbits we learned about X Factor:

1. The judges are one big, happy, VERY dysfunctional family.

Even with Simon on a satellite feed, everyone squabbled and teased each other constantly. And the love/hate relationship between Simon and Paula hasn't changed one bit since their time together on American Idol. "It's kinda like mummy and daddy had a trial separation, but now they're back together," joked Jones. To which Simon added, "It's more like The Exorcist 2."

2. Simon Cowell is now ... sweet?

From the promos, it doesn't look like the king of mean has lost his edge. But even himself acknowledge these new young rascals are giving back what he dishes out. "They've been more lippy to me anyone in my life," Simon complained. "I was traumatized after the auditions." And he referred to one NYC rapper who "absolutely chewed me apart. But I quite like that."

Even Paula thinks he's changed. "Simon is a completely different species on this show," she said. "He's turned into me ... he's turned into a pussycat. It's very sweet."

3. Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger have a cry-off.

Although Simon basically called her ruthless and ambitious, apparently Nicole is neck and neck with Paula when it comes to crying on the show, according to both Simon and Steve Jones.

4. Mariah Carey still might join The X Factor.

"There's certain sections on the show … where we do have well known people helping us," Cowell revealed. And Mariah might be one of them. "She's been enthusiastic from day one," he said, "but selfishly got pregnant, which is why she didn't end up as a judge."

5. Age is nothing but a number.

Unlike the UK version of X Factor, where contestants must be at least 15, the American version will allow contestants as young as 12. And there is no age LIMIT. "As Paula will know, I'm all for giving people comebacks, " Cowell snarked. "Everybody deserves a third chance!"

Seriously, though, the show doesn't have an age limit because "this show it's all about giving somebody a shot."

And previous industry experience is A-OK, too. "If they had a record contract before and they screwed it up ... anybody's welcome. That's why there are absolutely no rules on this show."

6. The winner receives $5 million. Guaranteed. Oh, and a Super Bowl commercial.

Cowell interrupted fellow judge L.A Reid's explanation of the recording contract prize to clarify what exactly the winner will be getting: "The winner is guaranteed to walk away with $5 million dollars."

In addition, Fox announced that the winner will star in a Pepsi commercial to air during the Super Bowl. "This is the sort of thing they gave Michael Jackson, Beyonce Britney Spears ... it's something money can't buy."

7. The first live show will be super-sized!

Are you ready for two and a half hours of X Factor? Fox announced the first live show (and the first one only ... so far) will be X-tra long.

For more of Wetpaint Entertainment's TCAs 2011 coverage, click here!