Kelly Rowland, Paulina Rubio
We miss Brit face.
The X Factor premiered its third season Wednesday night with two new faces at the judges' table: former Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland and Latin superstar Paulina Rubio. How do they mesh with Simon Cowell's acerbic critiquing style and Demi Lovato's youthful cheekiness? Can either of them rival the face-twisting antics of the dearly departed Britney Spears? Read on for TVGuide.com's assessment of the new judges:
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The Look: The diva keeps it bold but classy with perfectly coiffed hair every time. But don't confuse her with one of the "ladies who lunch." Kelly keeps things youthful with a bright color palette and fun, sometimes head-scratching patterns.
The Attitude: Kelly is a positive force on the panel, and is free with her compliments. She also takes her cue from Demi and directs most of her barbs at Simon (and even wrestles with him!). However, she occasionally lets her spicier, blunt side shine through, such as when she asks one caterwauling contestant, "Did you rehearse that song?"
The Honesty: She's gentle but firm with her rejections, and doesn't play around (much) with the bad contestants like Simon does.
The Heart: Expect to see more tears from her, like when she heard that stellar rendition of "Alabaster Box." This lady has a tender heart and will even be moved to get up from her judge's seat to console one tearful auditioner.
TVGuide.com's judgment: After judging The X Factor UK, Kelly is a pro and it shows in her composure and straightforward manner. Keep an eye on her face though to catch those less schooled, unguarded reactions.
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The Look: Hello, '80s! PauPau (pronounced "pow pow"), as Demi calls her, is not afraid to rewind a few decades when it comes to her wardrobe. Yep, that means wild hair, hot pinks, velour, fingerless fashion gloves and even a jaunty hat on occasion.
The Attitude: Although she's was a coach on The Voice Mexico, she's still feeling her way when it comes to bantering in English on this show. But she does use her Spanish-speaking skills to put certain contestants at ease and isn't above poking fun at Simon, or herself for that matter.
The Honesty: Paulina will tell someone if they sound pitchy, but of course it sounds like "peachy," which makes it kind of adorable.
The Heart: The lady is a romantic! She described one song "like kissing someone for the first time" and told couple Alex and Sierra, "I believe in you guys. I believe in love. I'm a believer!"
TVGuide.com's judgment: There's a bit of awkwardness to her banter with the contestants, but once that smooths over, we expect to see more of her personality come out. We hate to say it, but at this point, most of mainstream America are just going to confuse her with The Voice's Shakira.
Overall, it feels like The X Factor is making good on its promise to refocus on the contestants and less on the judges. Although newbies Kelly and PauPau are personalities in their own right, neither one stole the show like Britney did last season. From the premiere we remember the inspiring 54-year-old woman in a catsuit, the darling couple singing "Toxic" and 13-year-old Rion's big voice, and that's a good thing.
What did you think of the premiere? Did Kelly and Paulina strike a chord with you? Which were your favorite auditions?
The X Factor airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.