Interview with Andrew Llinares and Rob Wade of "The X Factor" on FOX - Primetime Article From The TV MegaSite

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By Krista

Interview with Andrew Llinares and Rob Wade of "The X Factor" on FOX 2/26/13

Final Transcript
FBC PUBLICITY: The X Factor Conference Call
February 26, 2013/11:30 a.m. PST

Andrew Llinares - Executive Producer
Rob Wade- Executive Producer
Hayley Hindinger - Host


Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for standing by. Welcome to The X Factor Conference call. At this time all lines are in a listen-only mode. Later, there will be a question and answer session. We do have a firm request that everyone keep their questions to one question and one follow up question, please. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. Now, I'd like to turn the conference over to your host, Hayley Hindinger. Please go ahead, ma'am.

H. Hindinger: Hi, everybody. This is Haley Hindinger from Fox Publicity. Thank you for joining our call today with The X Factor executive producers Rob Wade and Andrew Llinares. Auditions for Season 3 of The X Factor kick off next Wednesday March 6th at the Galen Center at USC in Los Angeles. Then open auditions will continue in Charleston, New Orleans, Long Island and Denver. Without further ado, we will open it up for questions for Rob and Andrew.

Moderator: Very good. Ladies and gentlemen, we'll go to our first question. It comes from the line of Reg Seeton from Please go ahead. Your line is open.

R. Seeton: Hi, guys. Thanks for taking the call.

R. Wade: Hi. How are you doing?

A. Llinares: Hi. How are you doing?

R. Seeton: Not too bad. Well, now that the show's moving into its third season do you think The X Factor has reached its full potential with the audition process or is there still a lot more room to grow?

A. Llinares: I think what's been incredibly exciting for us when we set out on these auditions is you go into it not knowing what to expect. You have high hopes and you hope that someone amazing is going to walk in and you just don't know. It's what's really exciting about these shows. So I don't think you could ever say you've reached your full potential. You always hope that you're going to find something amazing and we're certainly very, very excited about that this year.

R. Seeton: How did you approach the audition process this season in terms of what worked and what didn't work the last two seasons?

R. Wade: I think essentially our audition process has been incredibly successful. We've got amazing talent out of the show. We have phenomenon amounts of people coming for our open calls and we get a huge response to our online auditions as well. I think, what we're looking for essentially is a jewel, an uncovered diamond.

So, obviously, a lot of that is down to hard work and a little bit about that is down to luck. All we're trying to do is just get the word out there, let people know these auditions are on, make them excited to enter, show them what can happen, show them that you can actually fulfill your dreams. You can go from being a very normal everyday person with a very normal everyday job and then become a recording artist. We've been doing that very successfully and we want to continue doing that.

Moderator: Okay. Our next question is from the line of Dominick Patten from Deadline Hollywood. Please go ahead. Your line is open.

D. Patten: Hi, guys. How are you doing?

A. Llinares: We're good.

R. Wade: How's it going? All right?

D. Patten: Good. Obviously we're talking about the auditions but there's a lot of speculation about what's going to be happening on the show in the judges panel. Can you give us any indication of where things are looking to replace people?

R. Wade: Well, it's always exciting in this process. We don't know what we're doing yet. We're speaking to a few people. The judges are an incredibly important part of the show as we know. Really, right now, our focus I've got to say is on the contestants. We start these auditions on Wednesday. We want to make sure that that's where our focus is right now. You'll have to kind of watch this space on the judges, I'm afraid.

D. Patten: Do you expect it to see it–

R. Wade: Sorry. We lost you there.

A. Llinares: You've cut out there.

Moderator: Please go ahead. Your line is open.

D. Patten: I said, do you expect to see with bringing in a new judge we might see a ratings rise?

R. Wade: I think, obviously, what we're hoping to do this year is to improve the show, make it as good as possible. Of course, we obviously hope to have a ratings rise for a number of reasons whether that be the new judge or any tweaks we do to the format. Of course, we're the EP's of the show that's what we're hoping.

Moderator: Our next question comes from the line of Jessica Sims from InTouch Weekly. Please go ahead. Your line is open.

J. Sims: Hey, guys. How are you doing?

A. Llinares: Good. How are you?

J. Sims: Good. Doing well. Thanks. So I know that you've kind of touched a little bit on the judges but, of course, there's also the host. Of course, there's rumors buzzing that Khloe is not coming back next season. So we're wondering if there's still going to be a two-host format?

R. Wade: We're sort of at the beginning of the whole process at the moment. We're kind of looking at everything in the show whether it's the hosts, the judges, the contestants, the whole show, really. We're sort of working through it all. So it's a little bit early for us to say, really. We're still kind of open to all options I would say on that. We're working through it.

Like I said, the focus for us right now is these auditions which start very soon. At the end of the day, the stars of this show are the contestants. They really, really are and that's what we need to focus on is making sure that we do a great, great set of auditions around the country. Hopefully find some true stars there.

J. Sims: Fantastic. I know that the focus right now is on the contestants and there was a question earlier about how the contestant format if that was going to change the audition format is going to change or stay the same. So does this mean that other things might be a little bit more flexible moving forward as far as either the amount of judges or this is all subject to change at this point?

R. Wade: Absolutely. We're looking at everything again. We're looking at the judging panel to set the format of the show. We're looking at ways to improve the show is much as we can right from the audition process to the middle stages of the show and, of course, the live show. So we're looking at everything again and trying to make as good to watch for the viewer as possible.

A. Llinares: It sounds like we're cloaking everything in secrecy. It's generally a process we're going through at the moment. It's not quite as mysterious as we're making out, maybe.

R. Wade: I think it's worth saying, at this point, we want to take the best elements of Season 1 and we want to take the best elements of Season 2 and then we want to add to that a bit and make the best show that we can because I think we've been really proud of the last two seasons. I think there's been some great talent coming out of it, great moments, great TV. That's what we're working on at the moment. As Andrew said we're not trying to have everything secrecy we're just trying to get the most out of this show and make it the best show we can.

J. Sims: Okay. All right. Thanks guys.

Moderator: Very good. Our next question comes from the line of Russell Weakland of Hollywood Life. Please go ahead. Your line is open.

R. Weakland: Hey, guys. How are you?

A. Llinares: Hey. How are you doing?

R. Weakland: Fantastic. Do you think that the contestants are at all at a disadvantage by going into the auditions without judges being there that will be judging them in the future when they get on the show?

R. Wade: I think that's just a reality to the process. This show attracts huge, huge crowds. I mean we've seen crowds of 10,000 - 15,000 sometimes showing up in these cities and there's just a physical impossibility for one panel of judges to see those people in a day. I think if they were actually to see everybody audition they'd be here until next Christmas doing it. So we kind of have to have a filtering process.

Actually, I think we feel our filtering process and the process that people go through when they turn up at these first rounds of auditions is a very fair process actually. We get to see everybody individually and we have a little chat with them. Then we get to hear them sing. So they really do get a proper process. They're auditioned in front of some great producers from the show and also representatives of Sony, the record company, some people who really know what they are looking for. So it's a really great process. I think most people that come along feel like they've had a great, great day.

R. Weakland: Fantastic. Thank you.

Moderator: Our next question comes from the line of Jeanne Jakle of San Antonio Express. Please go ahead. Your line is open.

J. Jakle: Hi, guys. Thanks a lot. I just wanted to ask you, obviously, the turnout for the auditions depends in part or is stirred up by the excitement surrounding the former contestants. Can you just give me an update on the top three of Season 2 especially Fifth Harmony because they were kind of in an usual finalists?

R. Wade: Yes. Sure. Starting off with Tate, our winner. I'm sure you also saw that he had the music video during the Grammy's. He's currently working very hard. He's recording his first album and that's being released in April. Last year our winner released much later in the year. We want our winner to release kind of early this year. So they've gone through to April and we push it up to April. So we're excited to hear that.

We've heard a couple of songs, well I've heard a couple of songs. They’re good, you know, and it's very exciting. Tate is working incredibly hard. Of course, that guy, everything you saw on the screen, that is him. He really wants it. He's working incredibly hard.

Fifth Harmony, as you know they've signed with Epic and that's L.A. Reid's label. They, again, are working on their first album. We don't have a release date for them yet. They're doing some press, they're out and about and they've got a lot to work on. As you said, they were a brand-new group and obviously they're gelling together really well and we're really excited about them. It was interesting on the show in the first couple of weeks of the live show you kind of just saw them forming as a group and by the end they really kind of hit their stride.

Then, Emblem 3, they signed with Columbia, they're recording their first album. It's coming out in spring. They've got some tour dates this week. They'll be southern California and the East Coast. So that's where we are with everyone. Is that a good enough answer? Do you want any more information?

A. Llinares: I'm not sure you could give any more information. ....

R. Wade: Yes. Sorry. I went on a bit.

J. Jakle: That's okay. As a follow up I just wanted to ask will we be seeing more of that kind of mix-and-match like Simon did with the girls in this coming season that was sort of successful, right, with the ...

R. Wade: Yes. It was very successful with Fifth Harmony. I think what's exciting about this whole process is it's a pretty organic process. So that is something that kind of very naturally came about as a boot camp last year where there were these five girls that the judges felt may come together and create a great, great group and it really, really worked. Who knows? Maybe that could happen again, maybe not. I think it's all about who walks in the door and that's what's exciting about it for us. We just don't know what's going to happen. Some things none of us could imagine might happen. It's kind of exciting.

J. Jakle: Well, thank you. I really enjoyed the show last year.

R. Wade: Thank you.

A. Llinares: Thank you very much.

Moderator: Very good. Our next question comes from the line of Amber Garrett from WetPaint Entertainment. Please go ahead. Your line is open.

A. Garrett: Hello. Am I coming through?

R. Wade: Yes. Hi how are you?

A. Garrett: Sorry. My question was are you guys looking for anything specific this year based on the performers that sort of popped? How are you guys defining X Factor as going into Season 3?

R. Wade: I think it's interesting. We get asked that question and a lot of what we're going to expect to see and the truth is, we want to be surprised. When we went into Season 1 we didn't expect that we'd suddenly find some little voice like Melanie Amaro. In Season 2 we just talked about Fifth Harmony. Who knew that someone as exciting as them or who knew that a country singer would win the show in that second season? We never know what we're going to find.

We're very open-minded about who enters this competition and it's what makes us very different to the other singing shows out there. Someone who's over 25 could win this, a country singer like Tate, a group could win this a young group like an Emblem 3 type, or it could be a solo singer. So we're very lucky in our format that we have such a broad outreach. We accept talent in all shapes and sizes. So the truth is we're not out there looking for one thing. We're looking for everything and we're looking for the very best of everything.

A. Garrett: My follow-up question is are you looking to lower the age requirement for this season or are you going to stick with the parameters of last season?

A. Llinares: No. The age will still be 12. So anyone from 12 upwards can enter the competition. But like Rob said, what's really exciting is ultimately in this show you could have a 12-year-old singing against a 60-year-old. It really is a show that's open to absolutely anybody. So you've got people who are just starting out in their lives and potentially in their careers who might be facing people who may think that it's too late for them and that maybe this is their last chance at actually achieving something like this with their lives. So it's a show where dreams really can come true but for people right across the age spectrum which is incredibly exciting I think.

Moderator: Very good. Our next question comes from the line of Krista Chain of TV Megasite. Please go ahead. Your line is open.

K. Chain: Hi there. Thanks for taking the call today.

R. Wade: Thank you.

A. Llinares: Thank you.

K. Chain: What is your favorite part of the whole process for the show? What are some of your favorite parts?

R. Wade: I think being in the booths over the next month is great. I know this sounds like a cliché but we do believe that the talent, the contestants, are the stars of the show. It's a very special moment when you get someone really great in your booth. They come in and they sing and they blow you away. There's a little bit of competitiveness between all of us who go and do these auditions because we want to be the ones who found that star, that they came into our booth. So I really, personally, enjoy that. Andrew, you?

A. Llinares: Yes. I would agree because at the end of the day, you want to have that moment when you're auditioning these people. You want that moment when you kind of tingle because you think you found something special. So I think we all kind of look out for the moment when we look forward to the moment where we might get that special kind of tingle where you think, oh my God, this is something really special. It doesn't happen that often to be honest. We see a lot of people but we've always got our eyes and ears open and we're always hoping to find the next big thing. When you think you might have done it that's kind of a really magic feeling.

K. Chain: Okay. Do you have any favorite? Do you favor solo artists over groups or which type of talent do you prefer?

R. Wade: From a personal point of view, I'm kind of quite easy. I like everything. It's not like I prefer them within their categories. From a personal preference and I think as a show preference as well we just like originality. You don't want a cookie-cutter-like personal act. You want people who really excite you and feel original.

K. Chain: Okay. Thank you.

Moderator: We have our next question from the line of Jamie Ruby of Please go ahead. Your line is open.

J. Ruby: Hi, guys. Thanks for doing the call. I was just curious, you talked about how, obviously, a lot if it's open ended right now and you're changing things as you go. Is that stressful as producers because if it was me I'd be going crazy not knowing what's going on?

A. Llinares: Sorry. I missed the beginning of that. What was that? Sorry.

J. Ruby: You were saying that everything's open and you don't have things decided yet, who's going to judge and all of that. I'm just curious as producers is that stressful not knowing exactly what's going to happen?

A. Llinares: No. I think it's all part of the process really. I think like we said with the additions it's quite an organic process, the whole thing. So I think there's obviously lots to sort out on the show of this scale with the auditions, the judges, the hosts and all of the different elements of it but it's an exciting process. We're all really lucky to do something for a living that is so exciting. It's a really, really, really exciting thing to do. So we don't find it stressful. We love it. It is all part of the journey of it.

J. Ruby: What do you find the most challenging out of the whole thing?

R. Wade: Working with Andrew. No. What's the most challenging? The show has been around in the UK for ten years and what's challenging is just constantly trying to update and refresh it and make it relevant that's what's challenging. It's just constant. We're very hard on ourselves, in a way, and we want this show to be brilliant. We always push each other and push our team to make the best show possible. We love what we do so it's not too bad.

J. Ruby: Perfect. Great. Thank you.

Moderator: Our next question comes from the line of Claudia Cagan of E News. Please go ahead. Your line is open.

C. Cagan: Hi, guys. Great to talk to you today.

R. Wade: Hello.

C. Cagan: So, we are partial to our Khloe here at E. We are proud of the work that she did. If you have any advice for her and any other hopefuls who have never actually hosted before what would that be?

R. Wade: I think having our show like this it's all about–I always think you've got to come to it from a place where you're speaking with your heart. It's a show about real people. It's a show about people who want to change their lives. You look at someone like Tate Stevens and you see someone there who had a very normal life in and a very ordinary job and he wanted to change his life and he came on the show. Now he's living his dreams. I think everybody's who's on the show needs to kind of understand that and speak with their hearts.

C. Cagan: Interestingly enough, Khloe being a reality star and a popular celebrity, it would seem that she was the perfect choice. So what advice would you give future host hopefuls or do you think perhaps you will more likely go with someone who has some hosting experience this time?

R. Wade: I think, as we've said, we're still working through the questions. I think Khloe did a great job and she obviously hasn't hosted before. We all felt she did a great job. I think hosting, in general, is a really interesting position in television because it's very often people are very rarely very nice about it. It's always everyone thinks it's an easy kind of gig and it's not. It's really, really difficult. The great host that's been for years and years make it look very easy and that's the truth of things. We would never presume to put someone in a hosting role in their first year of having done it and expect them to be perfect. How could you? We felt Khloe did a good job.

C. Cagan: Yes. I think that was part of the challenge was putting her with Mario who has many years of hosting experience. That was an extra challenge for her to meet that challenge. She did a great job and we're proud of her. By the way, I picked Tate Stevens because I felt that America would speak to that wonderful talent.

R. Wade: Well there you go. I hope he makes some money.

C. Cagan: Yes. Thank you. Bye bye.

A. Llinares: Thank you.

Moderator: Our next question comes from the line of Adrian McNaughton of Premier Guide Media. Please go ahead. Your line is open.

A. McNaughton: Yes. You talked about having where you're placing a host and whatever. Does the show really need two hosts up there? Mario seems to do a very good job. It seems like one person could really carry it. What's the purpose of having two?

A. Llinares: I think we went with two hosts because we like the idea of doing something a little bit different to maybe some of the other shows. We like the idea of almost bringing those kind of award ceremony feeling to the show. So I think that's one way of looking at it. There's obviously a case for having one host or two hosts. Like we say, we're sort of working through all of these things at the moment before we decide exactly what we're going to do. I think there's pros and cons to both really.

A. McNaughton: Okay. Do you have any surprises coming up that are going to be changes to the show that's going to be any different?

R. Wade: Yes. We do. I think we're going to change some of the elements and the format. I wouldn't say we'd call them so much as surprises. There are ways we're planning on improving the show. As soon as those are finalized we're going to kind of be letting people know.

As Andrew said a couple of times now, we're focusing very much on new auditions and the contestants at the moment. Getting people to our open auditions to LA, Charleston, New Orleans, Long Island, and Denver because if they don't turn up to those positions then the show would be poorer for it. And any surprises we do are going to be kind of pointless because that's where the show is made. We are very aware of that. We're getting this bit right now getting this bit set off correctly. Making sure we're maximizing our talent search and then everything else will fall into place.

A. McNaughton: How about the storytelling of the individual artists that are out there? Are you going to be doing more of that in the audition part?

R. Wade: What do you mean, sorry?

A. McNaughton: Like, the format where they do the background they do some background on the different people that are trying out for the show. Are you going to be doing more storytelling on individuals?

A. Llinares: I think our ambition with the storytelling is always to engage people as much as possible and all the contestants are coming through. We're always looking at new ways of doing that. Some of that might be about seeing them back where they come from. Some of it's about just experience in the day they have at the auditions with us. We're always looking at ways of making that story as engaging as possible. We want people to really feel what the contestants are going through when they watch the show.

It's a very emotional experience auditioning for something like this. You've got real highs and lows of emotion. You've got excitement, you've got tears, you've got all sorts of different things. It's our job, I think, to get those emotions over. We want the viewers to feel the motion of the day. It's an incredibly emotional experience. If people can feel what the contestants are going through then I think we've done a good job. So that's certainly what we're aiming at.

A. McNaughton: Thank you very much and good luck.

A. Llinares: Thank you.

R. Wade: Thank you.

Moderator: No additional questions. Please continue.

H. Hindinger: We're going to conclude the call now. Thank you everyone for your questions. As always, please reach out to Fox publicity or visit The with any other questions. Thank you, Rob and Andrew.

R. Wade: Thank you.

A. Llinares: Thank you, everybody.

Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, this conference will be available for digitized replay from today at 1 p.m. pacific time through Tuesday, March 5 at midnight. Now, this does conclude your conference for today. Thank you for your participation and for using the AT&T Executive Teleconference Service.

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