'X Factor' Boot Camp competition will be 'stiff,' promises L.A. Reid

antonio-la-reid-x-factor.jpgAuditions are over and it's on to Boot Camp this week on "The X Factor."

All those singers who made a good first impression on judges Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid now have to prove their worth in tonight's solo showdowns. In Thursday's episode, the remaining contestants will be paired up in duets with only 24 hours to prepare with their partner before another round of cuts.

"Boot Camp is tough and we're putting these guys through rigorous, rigorous tasks to really see if they're qualified to go through to the next round," Reid promises. Only 24 acts will remain after Boot Camp, when the judges will learn which six artists or groups they're tasked with mentoring and begin to prepare them for the live shows.

Reid says that's when things get the most fun for him. "There's an adrenaline that comes with doing the live shows," he says. "I don't get the same adrenaline doing the auditions. The live show is a shorter amount of time and yes, it's nerve wracking, but it's good adrenaline. It's good nerves."

As for this season's focus so far on off stage melodrama, Reid says he believes it makes for good TV, but it doesn't impact how the judges respond to an audition. "They're real stories. They're not made up," he says. "[But] it has no bearing on how we decide on a particular contestant. It doesn't matter to me if Freddie [Combs] couldn't get up out of the chair because he was overweight. I'm not going to give you a yes because you can't get out of a chair. I'm going to give you a yes because you have a heavenly voice or because you have an amazing presence."

While Reid notes the trend among this year's crop is younger performers ("more teens, more tweens"), he says it's important to remember that just appearing on "X Factor" doesn't mean you're necessarily going to be a star. You still have to work for it. "There's no shortcut to success, and we on 'X Factor' or any TV competition for music, our job isn't to microwave people into success," Reid explains. "Our job is to identify people that we believe can have success, but it doesn't mean that we're going to shorten the road."

And first, these wannabe stars have to survive Boot Camp. "The competition in Boot Camp is going to be so stiff," Reid says. "I can't predict the outcome because there's so much good talent this year."
Photo/Video credit: FOX