Unfortunately, Cowell is not a seasoned comedy veteran like Fallon, so when the people providing the 'Other Voices' got a little crazy with what they were saying, he absolutely could not stay in character. If he wasn't laughing uncontrollably at them talking about his "dimpled balls," he was sitting there stoically trying not to laugh ... but forgetting to mouth along with the words.
There was the usual slew of terrible voices, though thankfully everyone kept their clothes on. And there were a few surprises along the way, including a little 14-year old rapper who was just obnoxious enough for Simon to appreciate.
Teenage singer Tiah Tolliver split the judging panel straight down the middle, with Cowell -- "I'm saying 'yes' a hundred percent" -- and L.A. Reid voting to put her through to the next round, and the female judges voting to send her home.
When Nicole Scherzinger said "I'll have to pass," the crowd started booing, and an irritated Cowell exclaimed "Oh, for god's sake!"
Paula Abdul's decision to say no was greeted with Cowell hurling a piece of paper to the floor and turning away in disgust.
He's going to do that by showing us amazing singers and amazing stories, like rugby coach and player Caitlin Koch in this second episode. She put a new twist on 'Stop! In the Name of Love' and captures the spirit of what the show could be.
But it spent so long early in the episode getting us to those types of performances that give us goosebumps, that Cowell's going to lose what audience he did muster up for the premiere. He needs to sprinkle brilliance throughout these early episodes, or we're going to wonder if they just didn't find that much talent on the road.
Following the same format as its British predecessor, 'The X Factor' showcased the tried and tested mix of producers' auditions and live performances in front of the judges and a live audience.
There were some inspirational tales, some great singers and some well, pretty bad performances.
Critics have praised the slick production values, but many feel we've been here before. 'New York' magazine described it as "'American Idol' meets a more lucrative contract for Simon Cowell."
The judges -- especially Nicole Scherzinger -- have been criticized for their contributions (or lack thereof). And some critics have questioned the possible exploitation of poor contestants.
But as much as Cowell might wish it weren't so, it's about the contestants they manage to find. And while Chris Rene, who was 70 days sober and trying to turn his life around, blew everyone away with a heartfelt original performance, it was another contestant who perhaps best personified what makes 'The X Factor' different.
"You'll see the most ginarmous fireworks display in Los Angeles if this show bombed," Cowell said, pointing out at the city. But Cowell may be his own harshest critic: he told Lauer that if the show doesn't draw in 20 million viewers, a number that would put it on par with 'Idol,' he'd consider it a flop.
Over the summer there was much drama off-screen as judge Cheryl Cole was booted from the panel after auditions had got underway and was replaced by the show's original co-host, Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger.
Cowell and Scherzinger were guests on 'Piers Morgan Tonight' and he talked candidly about the reasons for Cole's departure: "I was talking to someone about this at the screening the other night and they put it very well -- she looked a bit bewildered."
Cowell -- who says he feels bad about the very public way in which Cole was fired -- added that "I took the view, along with a few other people, that she would have been more comfortable back in the UK."
He also opened up about his hopes for 'The X Factor' and whether it will take down 'American Idol.'
Cowell answered as he did the last time this came up, reiterating that the pair only kissed that one time for a silly video shoot during one of the early seasons of 'American Idol.' He did, however, make sure to mention that she wanted to do multiple retakes.
He is constantly giving her grief, after all. Cowell then went on to compare Abdul to a family's lost dog in the pound, equating the dog's excitement at seeing its family again to how Abdul reacted upon seeing him for this new venture. It's as if they never left our television screens.
Chang said Cowell looked "like a new man," and asked him if he had more invested in the new show, since its one he had created. "Well, it's like starting all over again," he said. "When I came here ten years ago, it was a similar feeling. I had no idea what was going to happen. But I did like the show. And this is kind of the same feeling. It's a different show. I've enjoyed it. I don't know what's going to happen. So it's exciting."
According to 'The Wall Street Journal,' Lopez is close to signing a deal that will bring her back to the 'American Idol' judging panel for at least one more season.
When Lopez's original one-year contract -- estimated at $12 million -- expired back in May she said she was "on the fence" about committing to the series for another season, and she's been pitching her own TV talent show to networks.
'Idol' execs, in return, then let it be known that they were lining up possible replacements should they be unable to lure her back.
"Today Simon Fuller filed a legal complaint against Fox Broadcasting Company and Fremantle in the State of California over their refusal to honor a 2005 contract that granted Mr. Fuller an executive producer credit and fees on the 'X Factor' television program in the US. Mr. Fuller has prudently attempted to settle this matter privately but the other parties have refused to honor the original contract leaving him no other choice but to pursue legal action," Fuller's publicist said in a statement to Deadline.
However, you don't have to wait that long to see Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and L.A. Reid in action -- just watch the video below.
The first half is effectively a car commercial. You know it's a dream because Simon isn't wearing a trademark deep v-neck T-shirt. The real juicy bits happen just a little after a minute and half when 'X Factor' host Steve Jones says, "This is 'The X Factor!'" There's bright costumes, terrible singers, good voices, Simon and Paula canoodling, Paula throwing her Pepsi and L.A. Reid saying he wants to slit his wrists. Plus, Nicole Scherzinger steps on Paula's toes and gets teary while calling a contestant an inspiration.
Watch it after the jump.
Jennifer Lopez recently told the BBC that she's "on the fence" about returning to 'American Idol' next season. Although many insiders have dismissed it as just a ploy to get a pay hike, 'Idol' execs are already discussing possible replacements should they not be able to entice J.Lo to return.
"Right now the star of 'American Idol' is Steven Tyler," an insider source tells Popeater. "Everyone thought after Simon announced he was leaving that [Lopez] would fill the void. How wrong were they? It's all about Steven, who's already signed on for Season 11."
Last month, L.A. Reid surprised his staff and the industry as a whole when he announced his departure as chairman of Island Def Jam Records to secure a judging gig for the U.S. edition of Simon Cowell's reality singing competition 'The X Factor,' which is scheduled to premiere in September.
While he won't be working on forthcoming albums from Rihanna and Kanye West any longer, Reid will take his knack for handpicking luminaries and showcase it in front of millions on network television. Contestants on the show will surely demonstrate resolve and vigor in an effort to win him over, but he's looking for "crazy" as well.
TV Squad Hot Topics
Most Popular Articles
From Our Partners
- Best 'Scandal' Quotes from 'An Innocent Man'
- 'Bachelor' Roundup: No TV Wedding for Chris and Des, Juan Pablo's Odd Message for Nikki and More
- 'Scandal' Episode 4.8 Photos: Olivia in White
- 'Grey's Anatomy' Episode 11.7 Photos: Amelia's Addiction Causes Problems
- 'Gotham' Episode 8 Photos: Bruce Goes Back to School and Finds a New Friend
- More From BuddyTV
- Check Out Jane Fonda as Mr. Burns' New Girlfriend on 'The Simpsons'
- Tori Spelling Breaks Down After Seeing Her Ex-Husband
- Child Services Investigating Honey Boo Boo's Family, Grandmother Says
- Honey Boo Boo's Sister Anna Cardwell Tells ET: 'He's a Child Molester, Mama'
- 'The Talk' Cast Looks Unrecognizable in Their Halloween Costumes
- More From ET