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Watch: Simon Cowell talks 'X Factor' Season 2 changes from Britney to Demi

Watch: Simon Cowell talks 'X Factor' Season 2 changes from Britney to Demi

What do Britney, Demi and the lack of host mean for the FOX series?
One year ago, I sat down to talk with Simon Cowell about the long process of bringing "The X Factor" to the United States and how excited he was to have viewers finally see his vision.
 
A year later, "The X Factor" is starting its second season, but it might as well be a new series. Judges and mentors Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul are gone, replaced by Britney Spears and Demi Lovato. Host Steve Jones is gone and he has yet to be replaced. 
 
So this weekend, I interviewed Cowell about what is effectively being launched as a new show on Wednesday (September 12) night. 
 
Always the consummate pitchman -- Cowell is even putting his "X Factor" muscle behind a newly released set of Sony/Syco headphones, not coincidentally called X Headphones -- the "American Idol" favorite is optimistic about the new energy contributed by Spears and Lovato, as well as the storytelling potential introduced by the absence of hosts for the first chunk of the season.
 
Watch the video to hear when Cowell knew "X Factor" would require a reboot, as well as his explanation for the host-less format. 
 
And check back tonight for my live-blog of the season premiere.
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<p>The &quot;Cougar Town&quot; crew is moving to TBS.</p>

The "Cougar Town" crew is moving to TBS.

Credit: TBS

'Cougar Town' stars sing about January premiere date on TBS

And some very special guests, too

We've known since the spring that "Cougar Town" would be moving to TBS for its fourth season, and that the show would be returning sometime in 2013. Now we have a date — and, in typical "Cougar Town" fashion, a song to go tell you that date, sung by the cast and a bunch of very special friends of the show. Enjoy. And I look forward to the show coming back on January 8 (also Elvis's birthday).

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<p>Matthew Perry and Bill Cobbs go to a Laker game on &quot;Go On.&quot;</p>

Matthew Perry and Bill Cobbs go to a Laker game on "Go On."

Credit: NBC

The Morning Round-Up: 'Go On' & 'The New Normal'

One new NBC sitcom runs in place while the other offers a few signs of improvement

Well, TV premieres are starting to roll out as we get deeper into September. The "Sons of Anarchy" premiere was last night, and here's Geoff Berkshire season premiere review. Meanwhile, after the jump I have quick thoughts on the second episodes of "Go On" and "The New Normal" coming up just as soon as I tell you what "Havana casual" means...

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<p>James D'Arcy and Ben Winshaw in &quot;Cloud Atlas.&quot;</p>

James D'Arcy and Ben Winshaw in "Cloud Atlas."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Oscars First Take: ‘Cloud Atlas,’ ‘Impossible,’ ‘End of Watch’

Plus: ‘Perks of Being A Wallflower,’ ‘The Master’ and more

TORONTO – It’s been a long trek from Telluride to Toronto, but the initial wave of fall festivals is finally coming to an end.  While there are still a number of premieres over the next few days in Toronto, they are mostly secondary titles that few expect to get major distribution (and the snarky remarks are already starting on closing night selection “Emperor” starring Tommy Lee Jones).  

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Harold Perrineau in "Sons of Anarchy"

Harold Perrineau joins the cast of "Sons of Anarchy" for season five

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' season five premiere recap: 'Sovereign'

Say hello to Jimmy Smits and Harold Perrineau, and goodbye to a few others

The power dynamic between Jax and Clay isn't the only thing that's changed as we begin season five in Charming. This year's action-packed, fast-moving premiere introduces new players, reestablishes burgeoning rivalries and alliances, and contains one of the most brutal and disturbing scenes the show has ever seen (that is not a low bar to cross).

We can only speculate where any of this is heading, but as set-up, it worked. Mostly.

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<p>Monica Potter and Peter Krause in &quot;Parenthood.&quot;</p>

Monica Potter and Peter Krause in "Parenthood."

Credit: NBC

Season premiere review: 'Parenthood' - 'Family Portrait'

Ray Romano takes a Braverman photo in a sweet, simple return

"Parenthood" is back after an absurdly long absence (the season 3 finale aired at the end of February), and I have a review of the season premiere coming up just as soon as I choke on an awkward segue...

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"So You Think You Can Dance"

"So You Think You Can Dance"

Credit: Fox

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: The final 4 dance and Nigel shocks everyone

The dancers bring the wow - but one judge shares a tough opinion

Wow. After the last few moments of the show, I feel I need to rethink everything I saw in this episode.  I'm simply not sure how I feel about what happened, as I felt that what was said was the honest truth -- but absolutely calculated to change what happens as well. But let's not skip ahead just yet. There's a lot of show to talk about first, complete with compelling performances and arresting solos. And truthfully, those are happier to think about anyway.

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<p>This is &quot;The Voice&quot;</p>

This is "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Tuesday Premiere - Blind Auditions, Part 2

How many performers would we see in the second hour of Season 3?
“The Voice” premiered to solid ratings, albeit ratings well off its previous two season openers. Cause for concern for NBC? Probably not, although the real ratings excitement will come tomorrow when the third episode of this opening week episode gauntlet goes head to head with the premiere of “The X Factor” over on FOX. But we’re not here to speculate about Thursday morning Nielsen ratings. We’re here to recap the second blind auditions. Given the ratio of episode time versus contestant selected last night (one per fifteen minutes of air time) and the total number of contestants that will ultimately be placed on one of four teams (sixty-four), we’re going to be going blind well into 2013.
 
OK, it won’t be that bad. But we are looking at a 5-6 week process, unless things speed up. And given the dearth of programming in NBC’s lineup that gets even half as many viewers as “The Voice,” look for a leisurely pace as we approach the Battle Rounds at the approximate speed of continental drift. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it gives ample time for each contestant to make an impression. Be warned: if the backstory for a certain participant is boring, I might just make one up. It shouldn’t be too hard to tell fact from fiction.
 
Let’s start the running diary for tonight’s episode. This one, like tomorrow night’s installment, will run only a single hour. Will “The Voice” try to pack in the auditions or stick to last night’s leisurely pace? Will any other formerly rejected contestants re-emerge to try and make it big again? Will producers send out a parade of former Mouseketeers in an effort to confuse Christina Aguilera? Only one way to find out. All times below are EST.
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<p>Dave Matthews Band's &quot;Away From the World&quot;</p>

Dave Matthews Band's "Away From the World"

Album Review: Dave Matthews Band, 'Away From the World'

Hit and miss for a band just past two decades old

Dave Matthews Band’s latest “Away from the World” shouldn’t be judged alone by its single “Mercy,” a rock lite Good-Feeling Word Salad that clings hard to the teeth. It means well, a sentiment that could describe just a couple of songs off of this Steve Lillywhite-produced set, but bombs compared to one of its “Worldly” companions like “Gaucho,” another and more refined expression of the disappointment and dealings with the “World’s” inequity. 

It’s all about taming those flourishes, and it’s Lillywhite whose gift is to parse the excessive elements of an instrumentally gifted band. After more than 20 years, they ought to be capable of doing it themselves, yet they end up with tracks like “Snow Outside” which sounds like 30 tracks when five or six could do. Be forewarned, too, that despite its epic buildup and release, “Drunken Soldier” ambles on eternally like a… well, you know.
 
However, there’s at least a pair of tracks that (thankfully) strip down to skivvies: ukulele-led “Sweet” is an appropriate title for a tender exercise in happy accidents while “Belly Full” is only one guitar and one vocal.
 
Carter Beauford has always been and remains the metronomic glue for the band, despite the gentle caw of its namesake’s voice or the stable of backing players. He’s especially poignant on creeper “The Riff,” Matthews’ bedroom-eyed break with reality.  “[I] take another drink / so I can lose control,” Matthews growls from the “Rooftop,” the sort of uninhibited “sweet spot” that attracted listeners to begin with. “I want / you to / tell me that you want me.” You can tell he means it, ‘cause of all of the blaring instruments.
 
"Away From the World" is out today (Sept. 11).

 

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<p>Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur in &quot;Beyond the Hills.&quot;</p>

Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur in "Beyond the Hills."

Credit: Sundance Selects

Romania enters Cannes winner 'Beyond the Hills' in the Oscar race

Will voters make it up to Cristian Mungiu after that significant 2007 snub?

For casual Oscar-watchers, the Cannes Film Festival may seem prime hunting ground for Best Foreign Language Film candidates, but it hasn't turned up much so far -- only two submissions have emerged from this year's programme. The first of these was obvious: Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or winner "Amour," eventually selected as Austria's entry. 

The second is similarly predictable: eyebrows would have been raised if Romania hadn't submitted "Beyond the Hills." Cristian Mungiu's long-awaited follow-up to his 2007 Cannes champion, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" earned a raft of glowing reviews -- if not quite the unanimous veneration that greeted his previous film -- upon its premiere back in May, and was the only film in Competition to take more than one jury award: Best Screenplay for Mungiu and Best Actress for young novices Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur. (As with the recent kerfuffle in Venice, the latter prize was something of a compromise: "Amour" lead Emmanuelle Riva was reportedly the jury's first choice.) 

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"Nashville"

"Nashville"

Credit: ABC

The good, the bad and the meh of fall 2012's new TV dramas

Quick takes on 'Nashville,' 'Vegas,' '666 Park Avenue' and more

I couldn't just weigh in on the new fall TV half-hours, of course. For the record, these aren't reviews -- those would be more in-depth and, honestly, would require more than the first episode to truly assess each show. Still, the new fall dramas are a much sturdier, more promising lot than the sitcoms, so there's reason to be hopeful. And really, even if some of the stronger shows dive bomb, the all-star casts (Connie Britton! Michael Chiklis! Andre Braugher) will be compelling enough for me to at least set my DVR each week.

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<p>Pink</p>

Pink

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Pink's new track, 'Try,' provides inspiration

She strongly sells weak song

Pink’s new album,”The Truth About Love,”  doesn’t come out until next Tuesday, but between now and then a lyric video for a new track will debut every day on Vevo.

Today’s track, “Try” is a mid-tempo sparkler, whose melody is a bit reminiscent of “You And Your Hand.” Lyrically, the song is all getting up again after being kicked down hard. From the opening lines, “Ever wonder about what he’s doing/How it all turned to lies,” it’s clear that her man has gone astray. But, as she advises us, “Just because it burns/doesn’t mean you’re gonna die.”

[More after the jump...]

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