The X Factor judges L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell
07/13/2011 at 11:05 AM EDT
• originally published
New show, new attitude?
In a preview of Fox's upcoming singing competition,
The X Factor"
, show creator and judge
seems to be putting
ways behind him.
Cowell, 51, who
for nine seasons
was known for his often cranky and critical feedback at the
judges's table, now is all smiles as he applauds and praises
hopefuls in the clip ("I love your spirit," he tells one young girl).
Of course, it's all "a horrible nightmare," and when the sneak peek continues (watch below), the judging panel – Cowell, L.A. Reid,
and Nicole Scherzinger – is
Could this be a dig at
, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler, who showed a
softer side to judging
"Absolute, total rubbish," Cowell, true to his familiar
style, tells an aspiring contestant in a clip from the auditions.
The preview also veers from the
path with product placement: The
judges are seen sipping from Pepsi (not Coca-Cola) cups, and the show features Chevrolet (not Ford) cars.