Black Eyed Peas founder Will.i.am has been a vocal critic of Simon Cowell and “The X Factor,” but he apparently was able to overcome his negative feelings about the show because, according to TV Guide, Will.i.am is the guest mentor paired with “X Factor” U.S. judge Britney Spears for the “judges’ houses” phase of the show in 2012.
Sources say that Will.i.am was personally recruited by Spears, who has worked with him before she became a judge on the show. Will.i.am was a featured artist on Spears’ “Big Fat Bass” song on her 2011 “Femme Fatale” album. Spears is featured on Will.i.am’s song “Sexy Sexy,” which is on his fourth solo album, “#willpower.”
The news about Will.i.am being a guest mentor on “”The X Factor” U.S. comes just days after former “X Factor” judge Cheryl Cole (whose management team includes Will.i.am) changed her mind about never being on “The X Factor” again. Cole decided to be a guest mentor paired with “X Factor” U.K. judge Gary Barlow. Cole reportedly made the guest appearance as a personal favor to Barlow, and they filmed their “judges’ houses” episodes on September 8, 2012.
Will.i.am has been a guest mentor on “American Idol” multiple times. He is also a coach/judge on “The Voice” U.K.
As previously reported, Marc Anthony is assisting Cowell during the “judges’ houses” phase of the competition, when all of the judges narrow down the Top 32 acts to the Top 16 acts that will perform in the live episodes.
“X Factor” U.S. judge Antonio “L.A.” Reid has already filmed his “judges’ houses” episodes in Los Angeles with guest mentor Justin Bieber.
Demi Lovato is paired with her good friend Nick Jonas (of the Jonas Brothers), who is the guest mentor assisting Lovato.
As previously reported, “The X Factor” U.S. has eliminated the Boys and Girls categories and replaced them with two age-based categories: solo singers ages 12 to 16 and solo singers ages 17 to 24. In addition, the minimum age for the Overs category has been lowered from 30 to 25.
Here are the “X Factor” U.S. mentor categories for 2012:*
- Solo singers ages 12 to 16 – mentored by judge Demi Lovato; guest mentor is Nick Jonas
- Solo singers ages 17 to 24 – mentored by judge Britney Spears; guest mentor is Will.i.am
- Solo singers ages 25 and over – mentored by judge L.A. Reid; guest mentor is Justin Bieber
- Groups – mentored by judge Simon Cowell; guest mentor is Marc Anthony
“The X Factor” U.S.’s second season has a two-part premiere on Fox on September 12 and September 13, 2012, at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time.
*September 14, 2012 update: Spears and Lovato have switched mentor categories. Click here for more details.
Here is the updated list of the contestant categories and the assigned mentors:
- Solo singers ages 12 to 16 – mentored by Britney Spears; guest mentor is Will.i.am
- Solo singers ages 17 to 24 – mentored by Demi Lovato; guest mentor is Nick Jonas
- Solo singers ages 25 and over – mentored by L.A. Reid; guest mentor is Justin Bieber
- Groups – mentored by Simon Cowell; guest mentor is Marc Anthony