Tuesday, October 04, 2011
It’s the same format. And we’re fast approaching the expiration date.
If there is one true difference it’s that Simon Cowell is no longer just a participant. He’s clearly in complete charge now. So any bickering with the other judges is all total bullshit. He hired them. So any annoyance over Paula, that’s purely for show. At least when Paula says insipid or stupid things we know she’s being genuine. That’s the real her. But make no mistake, there by the grace of Simon go they.
How much will Simon’s influence continue to steer the show as it progresses? Is Simon just a judge or is he the Vince McMahon of singing competition series?
As for the other judges. L.A. Reid is Randy Jackson if Randy’s mom had taught him how to dress and he didn’t drop out of school after the third grade. He adds some class and intelligence. And that’s all swell but I’m looking for judges who have unique or entertaining perspectives.
Like Ben Folds on THE SING-OFF. This guy is great. And instead, the X-FACTOR took another judge from that show, Nicole Scherzinger. That’s like the old joke about the network executive watching MORK & MINDY and saying, “Get me the girl!” Nicole has J-Lo looks and is a great singer herself, but she offers exactly… nothing.
Apparently Ms. Cole is a big celebrity in the U.K. In the limited time I saw her on X-FACTOR all I could glean was (a) she’s pretty, and (b) she’s pretty. Firing her for Nicole was a lateral move at best.
To me the fun of the show is when they discover some unlikely talent. The whole Susan Boyle phenomenon. Last week they had some schlubby Zach Galifianakis guy who blew everyone away with an amazing rendition of “At Last”. That was thrilling. Fill the hour (or two... or seven) with those performers. You’ve got 100,000 to choose from. I’m tired of the freaks and imbeciles who prance around in ridiculous costumes and sing worse than Roseanne. Yes, I know, they’re only there so Simon can humiliate them on national television but seriously, that act is starting to seem older than Gallagher's.
In general, THE X-FACTOR just a retread with louder bumper music, a larger thunderdome set, and splashier graphics. Hardees’ with a disco ball.
This franchise has been a mega hit in many countries. So it’s only right that Mr. Cowell would assume it will be a smash in the U.S. I think he’s wrong. I think it will do okay. Not spectacular. Not breakout. Just okay. It doesn’t have that spark, that sense of freshness, newness, that… how do I put this succinctly into words? It doesn’t have that “X” factor.
Last day to vote on your favorite sitcom of all-time. Your results and my thoughts tomorrow. Thanks for playing.
By Ken Levine at 5:58 AM