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Mr. Cowell argued that you need more than star singers to anoint the next big talent. On “X Factor,” Epic Records Chairman and CEO L.A. Reid is as crucial as the show’s celebrity judges, which this year include Britney Spears and Demi Lovato.

Over at “Idol,” there’s a question about the status of Randy Jackson — the last link to the show’s original panel with Mr. Cowell and Paula Abdul. The rumored list of names who might replace outgoing stars Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler has included Nicki Minaj, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban, not executives or producers.

“I wouldn’t trust four singers on one of these shows,” Mr. Cowell said. “You’ve got to have record executives balanced with the artists. The artists give one perspective and the record label gives a completely different perspective.”

Of course, the celebrity argument cuts both ways. Some note it may be too much to ask for these shows to produce such a rare commodity.

Singer-songwriter John Rich, who actually is moving in with a contestant for 72 hours on the CW’s “The Next,” said those who have gone on to become stars did so because they had something special. “Sometimes great singers win the talent contest and sometimes great artists win the talent contest. More times than not, probably a great singer wins, not a great artist,” he said.

As Mr. Colon predicted, the year since he won “The Voice” has been challenging. He asked out of his record contract with Universal Republic when he felt he wasn’t getting the necessary promotional push and support. But he recently wrapped a swing through South America with Maroon 5 at Mr. Levine’s invitation. He played in front of 35,000 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, perhaps the highlight of his career. And more important, he’s now able to draw several hundred to a gig in North Dakota, drawing on his own star power.

“The Voice” didn’t give him stardom, but the wave of momentum from the show has given him a career.

“My expectations going into the show were just, you know, I want this to be a good opportunity for me and good exposure and hopefully I’ll be in a better place than I was before the show started,” Mr. Colon said. “I’m definitely there and beyond that.”

AP reporter Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.