People who have been following news about “The X Factor” U.S. already know about how executive producer/judge Simon Cowell, 52, and judge Demi Lovato, 20, have had some feisty rapport between them that is sometimes playful and is sometimes mean-spirited. Cowell and Lovato showed some more of this spirited banter in an interview that they did on September 17, 2012, on the TBS late-night talk show “Conan,” hosted by Conan O’Brien.
Some of the dialogue they exchanged seemed very rehearsed, while other things they said seemed more spontaneous.
When O’Brien asked Lovato what she thinks of Cowell’s tendency to wear white T-shirts, she replied in what sounded like a pre-scripted answer: “We’re trying to reach a younger demographic, and I don’t feel we’re going to accomplish that when he’s showing more cleavage than Britney [Spears] and I are.”
Cowell retorted, “Well, then show more cleavage!”
Lovato said, “I’m good, thank you.”
Cowell added, “Well, I’m not showing any cleavage because this is a T-shirt.”
Lovato said, “I’m surprised, because normally you could braid your chest hair.”
Cowell said to O’Brien, “Tell her to stop picking on me, please.”
O’Bren joked, “Don’t pick on him! He’s a kind man who’s never insulted anyone!”
Cowell then laughed loudly.
When O’Brien asked Cowell why he calls Lovato “annoying,” Cowell said to Lovato, “You are very annoying. How’s that?”
Lovato, “How’s that? You can be a bit of an a**hole! How’s that?”
O’Brien said that Cowell’s “powers seem to grow” every time Cowell gets booed by an audience.
Cowell admitted that the booing “is like oxygen” to him. “For me, it’s like kind of a warmth.”
Cowell then said that Spears “just freaked out” the first time she was booed at “X Factor” auditions when she said “no” to a contestant. “And the same with this one,” he pointed to Lovato. “Actually, you got booed a lot, didn’t you?”
Lovato replied, “Yeah, I got booed a lot. The first thing I learned when I on the show was don’t be influenced by any other person’s opinions of what you think of the contestant. I went in there and I literally spoke what’s on my mind. And they didn’t like to hear it, and so I got booed. At first I was like, ‘Oh my God, now I know how Simon feels!’ And then I was like, ‘Oh my God, but he doesn’t care and I do!’ And then I got used to it.”
Cowell added, “I get booed more than I get cheered.”
Lovato cracked, “You know what this is? The world’s tiniest violin playing.”
O’Brian then said to the two of them about their joking banter, “Would you like Andy [Richter] and I to leave? You’re in your own world.”
O’Brien than asked if it was true that Spears walked off of “The X Factor” set during auditions.
Cowell then replied with the usual cover-up excuse that Spears was just “taking a break.” What he failed to mention was that the other judges continued the auditions without her after she walked off the set, which is a clear indication that they knew she wasn’t coming back. Cowell has admitted in other interviews that Spears did walk off of the set.
O’Brien then asked Cowell about a paparazzi photo taken months ago of a shirtless Cowell on a yacht, with an unpeeled orange in his mouth and pretending a banana is a phone. Cowell explained, “We had a game of who could get the most stupid photo published. And I won!”
Cowell was then asked about the tabloid reports that he had a breakdown in the summer of 2012, in which Cowell was allegedly bed-ridden and under doctor’s orders to change his unhealthy habits. He said, “It wasn’t a mental collapse. I decided to turn off my phone off for six weeks … I became a little bit reclusive for a couple weeks. I though it was good therapy. I would recommend to anyone, by the way.”
O’Brien then talked to Lovato about her tendency to fall down when she’s performing on stage. Lovato explained, “I’m really clumsy. I fall almost every single time I go on tour. I joke around that it’s not an actual tour until I fall down on stage.”
A YouTube video was then shown of Lovato falling down on stage, and she had a big laugh over it. “That was one of my first concerts, ” she recalled. “I was opening up for the Jonas Brothers. I was mortified! I stayed in bed the entire next day, and I cried .. And then I started falling on stage more often … and it became my thing.”
O’Brien then asked about the ratings competition between the U.S. editions of “The X Factor” and “The Voice.” (It’s a competition that “The X Factor” is continuing to lose.)
Cowell’s demeanor became somber as he replied, “It’s going to be a long battle, but I always say it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And now that we’re not overlapping, I kind of see it as healthy competition. It makes me work harder. It makes me more determined when someone like that is competing with us.” He then added with an unconvincing smile, “So we’ll get there in the end.”
O’Brien than told Cowell to make a case to the viewers on why they should watch “The X Factor” instead of “The Voice.”
Cowell joked, “Next week, Britney is doing half the show topless. It’s worth seeing.”
Lovato quipped, “And Simon actually buttons his shirt! So that’s going to be new for the audience.”
Cowell sniped back, “And Demi says something interesting.”
Cowell then added seriously, “It’s really is good. There’s some great talent on the show. I really love the series this year. I think it’s the best we’ve made.”