Steve Jones [photo: Fox]British television presenter Steve Jones was a complete unknown in America when he was tapped by Simon Cowell to fill the Ryan Seacrest role on "The X Factor USA" this year. And after his original co-host, Nicole Scherzinger, got an unexpected promotion to replace ousted judge Cheryl Cole, Steve suddenly had to go it alone. Up until last week, his appearances on the show were mostly limited to Boot Camp voiceovers or waist-up shots of him sitting in the passenger seat of a speeding Mack truck...but last week he was finally tested in a major way, when he hosted the 150-minute first "X Factor" live show on Fox, without any sort of safety net.
The jury's still out on whether Steve can ever be in a league with Seacrest, Deeley, Bergeron, et al. At times he seemed a little wooden and stiff last Tuesday, and while he later explained that he was only doing his job of trying to keep the episode on schedule, he still caught some flack for cutting off Paula Abdul in the middle of her pep talk to eliminated contestants the Brewer Boys.
But when I spoke to Steve after last Tuesday's top 17 performance show, he exhibited much more personality than he did on-air, which makes me think maybe he just needs to grow into his new job. Click below to see him chat about (or more like deny) his heartthrob status, how he keeps Simon Cowell in line, why he would happily share the "X Factor" stage with livestock if he had to, and how you can tell him apart from that other Steve Jones, the guitarist from the Sex Pistols. I think this particular Steve has the potential to be a charmer.