Another reality talent competition series hits our TV screens with Fox’s X Factor. This show franchise originated in the UK and is now held in various countries. In the show, aspiring pop singer contestants compete against each other in five stages: producers’ auditions (this will decide who will sing in front of the judges), judges’ auditions (they decide if you go to the next stage), bootcamp (contestants are sorted into 4 categories and learn choreography, sing and step up their game), judges’ houses (contestants go to a judge’s’ house to be mentored) and the live shows (finals).
I know this franchise isn’t new and it has been around in other countries but it just fells so much like American Idol—it even has two former Idol judges on its panel! They say the key differences are in the rules. Idol is only open to solo singers who are 15 to 28 years old while in X Factor, duos and groups may also compete and it’s open to contestants 12 years old and up. The judges double duty as mentors after the bootcamp stage. And the prize at stake is way bigger with a $5 million dollar contract up for grabs (Idol only offers $1M), plus recording and marketing costs are paid for separately.
I’m a reality show junkie but I think there’s just too many talent competition shows out there. I’ve stopped following American Idol around season 5 coz I just couldn’t keep up with the finalists and the winners. Honestly, where are most of them now? Sure, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson have the staying power up until now. But where are the other winners and crowd fave finalists Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Bo Bice (and countless other fan faves) now? Last year’s winner, Lee DeWyze, was even dropped by his label after just one album (Although, this year’s winner, Scotty McCreery, had a number 1 album, but we shall yet to see if he can last long in the business). My point is, Idol churns out so many great talents every year but not a lot of them survive the tough music business, their shelf life has become shorter and shorter (I can’t even remember the winners after Season 5); do we really need another singing competition out there?
The show is hosted by Steve Jones. It has four judges on its panel, namely:
- Simon Cowell: A&R executive, television producer and entrepreneur. He owns a television production and music publishing house. He has been a talent judge on TV shows such as Pop Idol, The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and American Idol.
- Paula Abdul: a singer-songwriter, dancer, choreographer and actress. She had a couple of music hits in the late 80’s and early 90’s. She was a previous judge in American Idol with Simon Cowell.
- Nicole Scherzinger: a solo artist after leaving the Pussycat Dolls as its lead singer. She was initially going to be a co-host but replaced Cheryl Cole when she was fired from the show.
- Antonio “L.A.” Reid: a three-time Grammy Award-winning, record executive, songwriter, and record producer. He is the co-founder of LaFace Records and is responsible for signing and helping bring Mariah Carey, Pink, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Kanye West, Avril Lavigne, Toni Braxton, TLC, Usher, Ciara, OutKast, and Dido to multi-platinum album sales. Currently, he serves as Chairman and CEO of Epic Records.
September 21 & 22, 2011 (WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY), 8/7c on Fox
The X Factor will move from its current two-hour, two-night Wednesday/Thursday spots to Tuesdays on October 18 and 25 to accommodate the MLB playoffs. The regular Wednesday/Thursday schedule will resume on November 2.