'The X Factor': Are you intrigued or fatigued?

Simon Cowell’s The X Factor got its “world premiere sneak peek preview” just before last night’s MLB all-star game. So I guess this thing is really happening! Still hard to believe, considering the glut of singing reality competitions on network TV and the fact that it’s July and since when is Simon Cowell anywhere near TV in JULY? Watch the preview below. Try not to get lost in the pink cable-knit cloud of Simon’s faux-fluffy new image!

As James Hibberd pointed out on Inside TV last night, the promo tries mightily to prove The X Factor will be different from American Idol. But all I got from their playful mocking of a similar show on the same network… was that, as we all suspect anyway, this new show is strikingly similar to American Idol. The preview showed no great singers (that we actually heard, at least), a few catty zingers, a jaunty host exclaiming “This is… !” and exceedingly precious Chevy Volt and Pepsi product placements. Are they fooling anyone? Joke all you want, but it’s still all about the cars and cola. As EW.com reader JT put it, “If you squint it looks like American Idol season 8.” It’s sort of like that scene in Love Actually when Elisha Cuthbert and January Jones (!!) are so delighted to hear all of Colin Frissell, God of Sex’s British pronunciations of everyday words like “bottle,” but mere seconds later when he gets to “table,” they’re all dejected. “It’s the same.”

I know X Factor has a different format than Idol, but its success might come down to the basic question: “Do you want to watch American Idol during the fall?” And I’d assume America’s answer is duh, yes. If ABC can do it with Dancing With the Stars, why can’t Fox do it with American Idol and its snooty British cousin? Of course they can. Simon can do whatever he wants. Let him go around ballroomizing things. I’ll watch!

To be honest, the only element of The X Factor that has me excited is the return of Simon to TV. That’s it. Just him. He’s so obnoxious and I’ve always loved it. The carefully edited preview tried to suggest Simon’s mere presence will infuse a rapid-fire bitchery blitz among the other judges, but I won’t believe that until I see it live. Those other three Pepsi drinkers just seem arbitrary at this point, even Paula. I suppose L.A. Reid is the wild card. We can already predict Paula’s antics, and Nicole Scherzinger is just kind of there, off the bench. I’d be willing to stand in front of anyone and say “Slap me as hard as you can if you truly care about what Nicole Scherzinger has to say.” I just need to make sure it’s not one of my MANY INTERNET ENEMIES.

So in the dead of summer, are you into The Simon Show or not? Vote below.

Read more:
First ‘X Factor’ judges photo and preview: Simon Cowell mocks ‘American Idol’
Mariah Carey to mentor ‘X Factor’ contestants?

Comments (29 total) Add your comment
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  • MikeB

    I watched, for the first time, and really enjoyed the UK version much more than Idol or Voice so if it’s anything like that, I’ll really enjoy it.

  • Skye Hill

    I’ve watched the UK version the past two seasons and it’s been infinitely better than Idol. Idol’s last two seasons have been god-awful, which is a product of lousy contestants and lousy judges. Who the heck can hear “PITCHY DOG, IN IT TO WIN IT, BYOOOTIFUL” anymore without puking? Bring on the X Factor and The Voice. Dont need tired old Idol anymore.

    • Aiden

      Same here! I enjoy music reality shows, especially if they actually produce music and artists I end up following, but Idol has been a little tired lately. The Voice has renewed my faith that these shows can still be so fresh and exciting. I’d like to see what The X Factor can bring to the table. For now, though, I got at least one I can still look forward to watch.

  • Mary

    I’m intrigued by Simon’s weird Botox face. Good Lord, what has he done?

    • brandy

      My thoughts exactly!!

    • Alice Adams

      Oh, I thought it was ME and my eyes were going. His eyes look spooky.

  • GMB

    Idol season 10 contestant at 1:43 in the video?

    • Skye Hill

      Yep. Is it wise for X Factor to use Idol’s sloppy seconds in their ad?

  • Diane

    I loved the mockery of Idol because it was deserved. I am looking forward to Mr. Nasty’s return. Love or hate Simon, he tells it like it is and I respect him for that.

  • RJ

    All the Cheryl Cole drama, the promo that was pretty much just the judges walking in slow motion, and the fact that The Voice was so good has turned me off from the X Factor. To think I was excited when I saw a taping in Chicago with Cheryl Cole…now, I feel little or nothing for the X Factor.

  • Maj

    I watched the UK XF for 2 seasons via their official YT (I hope the US edition of the show keeps their YT open for outside-US as well, btw) and can’t say I prefer it to the last 2 seasons of Idol. By the end of the recent season I kept skipping most “critiques” – especially Simon’s. I always laugh when someone says he gives “honest” critiques. In fact for me he was the least honest judge on the UK XF. Him, Cheryl & Louis kept playing their games, the only honest judge on there was Dannii Minogue who seemed like she really couldn’t give a hoot abt all the focus on the judges & instead was there for the contestants & not for the show.
    I guess it’s a matter of personal preference…guess some people enjoy that sort of thing & actually watch these shows because of the judges, some might even love to hate it but by the end of the latest UK XF I was just completely exhousted by all the shenanigans on the show.
    That being said I am still interested in what the American version will bring, both production-wise & talent-wise.

    • Skye Hill

      Rebecca and Matt were both infinitely better than anyone on Idol the past two seasons.

    • underfor5

      Agree about Dannii. She was hugely underrated as a mentor. And yes, the British show is great, so hoping the U.S. team and the new British team can keep the magic alive!

  • Rbotha

    You never know, maybe a group impresses America more and does something that has not happened in the UK before. A group wins. And, Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke, and Matt Cardle are better than the last couple of Idol winners. The judges have the final say in who goes home, so no shock eliminations like Pia Toscano and James Durbin, Daughtry, etc.

    • Pinkie and the Brain

      Thats where you are wrong Rbotha, the judges always vote for the contestant they are mentoring (even if they are awful) and they blatantly try to vote out their strongest competition.

      • Maj


  • Lori

    I am so very over what American Idol has become, especially THIS year, that I welcome X Factor! The Voice was way better than Idol as well. Idol’s time came and went with Season 7! Yes, there was some good talent in seasons 8-10, but the show itself just sucks now.

  • Dicazi

    Those commercials are nowhere near as annoying as the nails-down-the-blackboard voice of the woman in The New Girl ads. I actually have to hit the mute button.

    • Aiden

      Umm..? Okay, what an unnecessary insult against Zooey Deschanel. Plus, I think you’ve mistaken this forum to be very interested in your annoyance of her speaking voice. Uncalled for bashing in the wrong place, Dicazi.

      • Dicazi

        I’m saying the AD’S annoying. The actress had affected a voice that is NOT her normal voice. And newer commercials have her speaking normally, so I’m NOT the only one annoyed by it.

  • N

    I’m a huge fan of the UK X Factor and am very intrigued by the American version! :) I can’t wait. I watch American Idol (well I haven’t since Paula left) and The Voice (which I found the live shows to be BORING) and I can honestly say the X Factor is nothing like either show…

    You have audition which are live, the audience has a say. Then you have bootcamp. The four categories: girls, boys, overs, and groups. The judges finding out which group to mentor. You have judges houses. The live shows. The real competition among the judges to have their acts win. (not like the Voice) hard to explain but there is just no comparing…

  • Will

    Should’ve stuck with Cheryl Cole. This just looks like American Idol 2.0. I also don’t like the audition process onstage it reminds me too much of “[insert country]’s got talent”…I like the earlier Xfactors when it was in a room just like AI

    • W

      Question: How does the lack of Cheryl Cole make it look like American Idol 2.0? The thing is, if one feels like it looks like American Idol 2.0 they would feel that way regardless of whether or not Cheryl Cole is on. As for the audience auditions — well, Simon Cowell IS the creator and producer of the original Got Talent so it’s no wonder he decided to use the same idea at some point. And while I don’t personally care for Got Talent, I actually prefer this change on X Factor’s auditions. To be honest I find it a lot more interesting and less tedious to watch auditions where people perform before the judges and a live audience, and they get a backing track (if they want) which effectively makes it like their first concert than people singing acapella in a room.

  • kim

    i loved the Uk version but i love this one more given the fact that both simon and paula are in it
    i cant wait for it to start

  • PC


  • Kimmie

    Last night’s promo was brilliant, clever, entertaining, and hilarious, and if it’s an indication of what’s in store on the entire series of X Factor, I am more excited than ever!! I agree with the author; it’s all about the return of Simon, and the fact that Paula is returning with him is a fabulous bonus. Those two together are pure magic. If it looks like an extension of Idol, that’s a GOOD thing. It is actually Idol taken to the next level. The UK version is amazing, and I can’t believe we are finally getting a US version. No rock star, pop diva, nor any big celebrity judge can even come close to the phenomenon that is Simon Cowell. He is the original reality talent competition judge, the one whom every knockoff show tries to imitate, but never can duplicate. Now, the knockoffs, including the “new” Idol without Simon, have taken the opposite approach by employing well-known recording artists and a kinder, gentler approach, but when Simon comes back to American TV in the fall, everyone will finally be convinced that this is a retreat back to your grandfather’s TV talent search.

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