Simon Cowell asked L.A. Reid to be a US 'x factor' judge because he is "fascinating".

The music mogul insists he isn't just looking for celebrity names to sit on the panel of his new show in order to attract viewers because he believes it is important to strike the right "balance" for the programme and its contestants.

He said: "I've known the guy a long time, and every time I was in his company, I always found him fascinating and interesting, and I just liked spending time with him because he's very knowledgeable, and he just has a lot of charisma and I think America will find him interesting.

"So I was never a fan of thinking, 'I need to hire celebrities to bring in an audience,' I wanted to put together a group of people who as a whole, people would want to watch, week after week."

Simon also admitted he believes having the music producer - who has helped launch the careers of the likes of Rihanna, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Pink and Mariah Carey - on the panel will boost the chances of a non-mainstream artist winning the show.

He said in an interview with The Huffington Post: "When LA was running his labels in the US, he had to deal with a lot of different types of music. He's very open minded, he's got great, broad taste."

Among the stars linked with seats on the judging panel have been Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul, Nicki Minaj and Cheryl Cole and while Simon wouldn't confirm who else will be offered a job, he admits he has met with most of the names who have been linked to the role - and that it is his own company who have been leaking the information.

Asked who has been interested in joining the show, he said: "Mostly the names that are out there. The media have got it because our company leaks any information - if we meet anybody, the whole world knows about it. But I don't have a problem with that."