By now we know that the X Factor absolutely bombed in the United States. It came at a time where The Voice was just getting its legs, American Idol’s ratings were plummeting, and there seemed to be a new vocal competition launched every other week.
While Simon Cowell just chalked it up to a lesson learned, record producer L.A. Reid said his decision on stepping up as a judge was the worst thing he’s ever done in his 30 plus years in the music industry — keep in mind this is the same man that brought us Young Jeezy, Justin Bieber, and Avril Lavigne.
Reid left X Factor prematurely and only appeared on the first two seasons. At the time, he said he wanted to focus his attention to Epic Records. Now, we’re getting the full picture as he slams the show in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
“It’s the worst thing I’ve ever done. The first season, yes, I had a great time. It was a little bit of a vacation. I’d been making music, working at running labels for a long time, and it was a little bit of, ‘Let me just have some fun.’ But the second season I was fully engaged trying run a label, and it wasn’t fun anymore.”
More importantly, Reid said the show completely destroyed his taste in music, which as an executive trying to find fresh talent, that’s a pretty risky thing.
“And more importantly, it really affected my taste — it almost destroyed it. It completely threw me off.”
He continued, “What works for television isn’t necessarily the thing that works in the traditional journey of music, so I adjusted my taste for television. But the truth is, I lowered my bar — my bar was quite high, if I’m being honest, and as a result I didn’t have the same level of success. The bar is quite high again now, but it was damaging.”
That said, the experience didn’t tarnish his relationship with Simon Cowell, who brought the show over to the States after its massive success in the U.K.
“I worked with Simon Cowell, who I love and have great respect for and he has great taste, but being around him for that long, I started to take on his taste, and I’m an amateur at having his taste — I’m good at my kind of taste.”
As for whether or not it was a success, Reid gave it straight. “I can’t criticize Simon because it was his show, and we did well. But I think he made the statement that if we didn’t do 20 million viewers, it was a failure. We did 14 million, which is actually a runaway success, but because we didn’t do 20, it was a failure. To be honest? The truth is: The Voice cleaned our clock.”
As for more details on the X Factor, L.A. said it’s all going to be in his new book, which is coming out soon.
[Image via Fox]