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Simon: 'X Factor' winner will get $5 million in cash

Aug. 5, 2011 at 4:20 PM ET

What does “X Factor’s” $5 million recording-contract prize actually mean? On Friday, Simon Cowell explained it via satellite at the “X Factor” panel during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Los Angeles.

“The winner is guaranteed to walk away with $5 million in cash,” Cowell said. “The $5 million is guaranteed.”

And that’s not all.

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images /
Simon Cowell speaks onscreen at "The X Factor" panel during the FOX portion of the 2011 Summer TCA Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Friday.

“In addition to a $5 million contract, Pepsi are giving the winner(s) of the show their own TV commercial in the Super Bowl, which is unbelievable,” Cowell said. “It’s the sort of thing they gave Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Britney Spears. It’s a money-can’t-buy prize. And that just makes the stakes that much more exciting.”

Cowell also addressed reports of Mariah Carey participation on “X Factor.” “There’s certain sections of the show … where we do have well-known people helping us with the show,” he said. “There’s a section of the show I’m hoping Mariah will get involved in, and I spoke to her the other day. She’s been enthusiastic from day one, but then selfishly got pregnant, which is why she didn’t end up as a judge.”

On the topic of judges, the famously caustic Brit said that though the show’s promos have shown the group to be mean, they aren’t intentionally that way. “That’s just in us,” he joked. And it sounds like some of the harsh comments are a response to the hopefuls.  “The contestants are mean to us, sometimes we can be harsh back to them,” said Cowell. “It’s give and take.”

He later added, “We’ve had to say to the 14-year-olds, ‘Will you be kind to me?’ because they are more lippy than any  other contestants I’ve ever met in my life. I was quite traumatized after the auditions.”

Example?

“There was this one kid in New York, you’ll see him, he’s a little rapper,” said the judge. “He absolutely chewed me apart! But I quite liked that.”

“X Factor” premieres at 8 p.m., Sept. 21 on Fox.

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