simon-cowell_x-factor_web.jpgBEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The mostly female judges’ panel for The X Factor reflects the “girls’ world” of today’s music business, says Simon Cowell.

When X Factor returns next month for its third season, Cowell will share judging duties on his show with returning panelist Demi Lovato, along with two newcomers: former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland and Latin artist Paulina Rubio. The music charts are dominated by women, Cowell said during a Television Critics Association session.

He compared last season’s judging panel, with record producer Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Britney Spears, to a dinner party that wasn’t as fun as expected. The revamped panel represents Cowell’s third try to make X Factor into the major hit he predicted it would be before its 2011 debut. The show, based on his British hit, has gotten respectable but not stellar ratings.

“You have to be competitive. You have to make changes,” Cowell said. Mario Lopez, returning as the show’s host, said the women on the panel have an obvious chemistry that he predicted will resonate with viewers. Rubio agreed that the three of them “bonded immediately.”

Rowland, who was a contestant on Star Search, was asked how she’s approaching judging. “Definitely constructive when it comes to criticism because you know what ‘no’ feels like,” she said.

Rubio, noting that she started with a recording deal as a youngster, said she had a perspective that she wants to share with young singers. Lovato, 20, who proved that she could hold her own on the show with the caustic Cowell, said her age gave her “a naive sense of confidence” that prevented her from being intimidated. She suggested he’s going to meet his match with the new panel.

“The banter between me and Simon will be times three,” she said. Amid reports that Cowell and married New York socialite Lauren Silverman are expecting a baby, he was asked if his schedule would be affected by being a father.

“I really haven’t read the newspapers. Did I miss anything?” Cowell replied. “Unfortunately, I have to keep this, for the moment, private. It’s just one of those things. Thank you very much anyway.” The pregnancy hasn’t been confirmed by either party. At one point, Lovato interjected that Cowell didn’t have to respond to the reporter’s question.