Simon has known for quite some time that Demi Lovato wouldn't be returning, but we didn't know he'd already been searching so hard for her replacement. "We started thinking about next year three or four months ago," he told us. "There was one person we were chasing, which is important for the show." (And no, he didn't give any clues!)
We know Simon wants to sit alongside talented people at the judges' table, but what does he really look for in them? "What's really important now is that with all these judges, we're going to call them 'mentors' and they've actually got to do the job we're paying them to do which is to turn [the contestants] into recording artists," the 54-year-old entrepreneur told us. "And not just say 'You're good' or 'You're bad.'"
The potential new mentors have to be ready to "live and breath the show, because the hours we put are huge," says Simon. And that's not just on set. "Every Sunday night, three or four hours at my house."
We can't wait to see who makes the cut!
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Gallery | Who Got Their Big Break From a Singing Competition?