Fergie joins "X Factor" contenders as producers squabble

LOS ANGELES Thu Apr 7, 2011 5:58pm EDT

Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas performs at the 24th annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in Los Angeles April 2, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas performs at the 24th annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in Los Angeles April 2, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie is in the running for a judge's spot on the upcoming U.S. version of "The X Factor," but creator Simon Cowell said on Thursday that producers were still juggling dozens of names for the TV talent show.

Latin singer Gloria Estefan may also have put herself in the running by turning up unexpectedly at open auditions in Miami and spending hours mentoring some of the thousands of hopefuls looking for a spot on the show, Cowell said.

So far only the acid-tongued Briton, and record executive Antonio "L.A." Reid have been announced as judges on "The X Factor", which debuts on Fox in the fall with a $5 million prize for the winner and a record contract.

Big names ranging from singers Jessica Simpson and Mariah Carey to Cowell's old "American Idol" sparring partner Paula Abdul have been mentioned in recent months.

But not final choice has been made for the one or two remaining judging spots, nor for the two hosts.

"We are still having nightly arguments with everyone, trying to get everyone to agree. If you asked everyone involved on this show who they would like on the panel, you would have 25 different opinions," Cowell told reporters.

"It does show publicly our complete and utter indecisiveness," he said.

Cowell confirmed media reports that Fergie, who has a solo career as well as being part of the Black Eyed Peas, is a possible contender.

"Her name was put forward. But like with a lot of other people we have spoken to, we have to check out everyone's availability. There is lot of time you have to put into this show. It is not a 2 or 3 day a week job," he said.

The "X Factor" judges will play a major role in mentoring and preparing contestants on the singing show.

Cowell said that Estefan may have been auditioning for a role on the panel when she turned up out of the blue in Miami on Thursday "and apparently did a fantastic job" helping contestants.

More than 20,000 people lined up for initial auditions in front of producers in Los Angeles last month. Cowell said that those unable to make it to major U.S. cities would be able to make video recordings in high-tech audition booths in cities including Honolulu, Anchorage and Kansas City.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Dean Goodman)

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