"I was fascinated by this show. I said, 'Of course I want to be a part of this,' " Ricky Martin says
Credit: Getty

Simon Cowell is livin’ la vida loca!

The opinionated Brit and his production company Syco Entertainment are bringing La Banda to American television and he’s recruited Ricky Martin to executive produce and judge the reality singing competition.

“The phone rings, and Simon Cowell calls and he says, ‘Ricky, I would like to meet with you,’ ” Martin says in promotional materials for the show. “We started throwing ideas and I was fascinated by this concept. I was fascinated by this show. I said, ‘Of course I want to be a part of this! Thank you for inviting me.’ ”

La Banda is set to air on Univision and will feature Spanish-speaking male contestants from the United States, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico, who will compete for a spot in a 5-person group that will be managed by Martin.

“It’s an amazing platform that I wish I had when I was starting in my career,” says Martin, who got his start as part of the Latin group Menudo.

And don’t expect Martin to be pulling out any Cowell-style insults on the show.

“Simon is a brutally honest judge, which is very important,” explains Martin. “[But] I’m a little bit more nurturing.”

Martin’s fellow judges have yet to be revealed, but contestant registration is already underway and auditions will begin March 7 in Los Angeles before the search goes nationwide.