Simon Cowell appoints Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio American X Factor judges


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The Independent Culture

Simon Cowell has hired former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland and Mexican singer/actress Paulina Rubio as judges on the American version of The X Factor.

Rowland, 32, and Rubio, 41, will join Cowell, 53, and pop singer Demi Lovato, 20, on the judging panel later this year. They replace Britney Spears and record producer Antonio "L.A." Reid.

"It's taken more than a decade but I'm delighted to finally be on a panel with three girls (I think!). Paulina and Kelly both have great taste and massive experience in the music industry and together with Demi, this is going to be a fun panel. It just feels like the time to do something different," Cowell said in a statement.

Cowell has revamped the judging panel after each season, firing singers Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger following a disappointing first season in the ratings.

The X Factor viewership fell to an average 9.7 million per episode from about 12.5 million in 2011.

Rowland, who has expanded into a solo career outside of Destiny's Child, joined the judges panel on the UK X Factor in 2011, bringing with her 20 years of experience in the music industry.

Grammy-winning artist Rubio is one of Latin music's best-known stars, with more than 20 million records sold worldwide.

Alongside her role in The X Factor, she will also be one of three musical coaches on "La Voz Kids," the Spanish-language version of "The Voice" singing competition on Telemundo, aimed at children.

"I'm so thrilled to be part of the show as a judge. Simon, be careful what you wish for, let's see if you are ready to handle me, empieza la fiesta, amigo!" Rubio said in a statement.

Fox network's The X Factor, which Cowell created in Britain in 2004 and brought to the United States in 2011, hands out a $5 million prize and record contract on Sony Music Entertainment's Epic Records label.

Previous winners from the UK counterpart include pop singer Leona Lewis and boy band One Direction, both enjoying international success.

The show will enter its third season this autumn, and auditions begin on Tuesday in Charleston, South Carolina, and run through July to find the upcoming season's crop of aspiring singers to compete for the prize.

Fox is a unit of News Corp. Sony Music Entertainment is a subsidiary of Sony Corp.