If the judges' hunches are right, the winner of "The X Factor" Season 3 may be a girl group.
New judge Kelly Rowland, formerly of the platinum-selling early 2000s trio, Destiny's Child, said during a press conference Thursday that it's this panel's job to find an artist to one-up that kind of success.
"As wonderful as it was to be a part of Destiny's Child, we gotta find somebody who's better than Destiny's Child," Rowland said. "Each generation is supposed to be better than the one before."
Rowland put together rising girl group Little Mix in 2011 while judging the UK version of "X Factor," as fellow judge Simon Cowell reiterated during the press conference at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, where auditions were being held through Friday.
During Season 2 of "X Factor," Cowell formed Fifth Harmony of five young female contestants who initially auditioned as solo acts. After they finished third on the show, Cowell worked out a deal to get the group signed to then-judge L.A. Reid's Epic Records label. Fifth Harmony's first single, "Miss Movin' On," was released June 16 to positive critical acclaim, plus an overwhelmingly warm reception among the tween/teen set.
"We haven't seen probably since Destiny's Child a girl band being really successful in this country and I am surprised," Cowell said. "That will pave the way for other artists like that."
Judge Demi Lovato, returning to the show after being appointed to the panel for Season 2, said a 54-year-old female contestant who auditioned Wednesday is one of the best they've seen — to which Cowell responded that the judges' appreciation of that contestant demonstrates that having three women at the judges table "has been a good thing."
"These shows have lacked warmth, focus," he said. "It's become so much about judges arguing and this and that. Someone like this 54-year-old girl, she comes up for one reason and one reason only: She wants a break. And these girls were fantastic because they totally focused on the contestant. So we're in a different world right now."
But it isn't all serious all the time. New judge Paulina Rubio said she and Cowell are "very sarcastic, so we have an equal sense of humor," which contributes to the group's chemistry at the table.
And though they have so far seen lots of impressive female talent, Cowell joked that the 75 percent female panel could increase the guys' chances.
"If you're male, got at least one leg, you've got a really good chance of going through with these three," he said.