The singing competition show genre has been getting some beef from critics and angry bloggers lately, accusing the networks of overshadowing contestants with high profile judges.

But according to Simon Cowell, if it weren’t for talented contestants, viewers would get bored.

Hollyscoop spoke with Simon during a FOX press call on Tuesday, where they asked him if he thought shows like his FOX hit “The X Factor” tend to overemphasize the judges.“Well it shouldn’t,” he says. “The shows can only work on these live aspects if you’ve got good and engaging contestants. And if it has to rely on the judges you’ve got a real problem.”

But—with the headline-melting stories of Britney Spears and Demi Lovato joining “The X Factor” and Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey fighting like cats on “American Idol”—it’s easy to see why haters could get that idea.According to Simon, though, the TV memories that hold up over time are those revolving around the contestants.

“The first year I did a show in America … all I remember from that show was the fact that Kelly Clarkson won,” Simon says.“Maybe on the early parts of the show, you know, on the auditions, the judges have a little bit more to do,” he adds, admitting that a couple of famous faces don’t hurt when it comes to drawing viewers into the series.

He adds that viewers are generally not stupid people, and when it comes to getting hooked on a show, they need to be watching performers with real talent that “not only can win the competition, but potentially could be a star.”

“When it comes to the live shows it’s 90 percent about the contestants,” he says.
By John Howard