Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses feverishly seeking fame. New X Factor print campaign? It should be. Okay, but seriously, we are SO ready to face the music. Simon withdrawals have reached epic proportions, so this latest British invasion is welcomed with open arms. However, does America share my fervent sentiment for snarky one-liners delivered with unapologetic ease? It appears not.
X Factor ratings earned just over half the ratings that ‘other’ Fox show, American Idol, procured during its January premiere. With a barrage of musical reality shows hitting the tube, the stakes are no doubt ridiculously high for smooth operator, Mr. Simon Cowell. Yes, we love to hate him. But as they say, the truth hurts and America may still be a glutton for punishment.
Any show with Paula Abdul that promises a rollercoaster of unbridled emotional highs and lows, in one measly hour, is great programming in my book. Enter 13-year-old Rachel Crow. The competition, open to both solo artists and groups, boasts no upper age limit. American Idol who? Never fear creepy, old pantless dude, you, like Rachel, can still seize your fifteen minutes of fame. Being the first pre-teen contestant debuted in front of thousands, I’d say her version of Duffy’s “Mercy” was amazeballs.
It’s evident producers hope to pit sassy, but seasoned Simon against legit music exec, Antonio “L.A. “ Reid. After the performance of young college student Simone, Mr. Cowell incredulously contested Reid’s dismissal of her talent. Only time will tell if the contrived tension between these two personalities will make TV magic. I’m not gonna lie, I secretly hoped L.A. would utter the familiar, ‘come on dawg,’ from his Pepsi sponsored seat. But alas, he is no Randy Jackson. And this is definitely not American Idol.
Next, someone we can all agree on…42-year-old mama, Stacy Francis. I mean, who hasn’t snuck into their bathroom at midnight to belt out melodious renditions of Celine and Whitney? Well, me and Stacy, that’s who. Not only did this songstress spill a touching tale of woe, but Cowell also named her “one of the best auditions I’ve ever heard in my life.” If you don’t believe him, YouTube that business.
Curious to see how producers would handle the mysterious disappearance of judge Cheryl Cole, I wasn’t even tempted to flip over to Modern Family during commercial breaks. Cheryl Cole, a beauty of a Brit, was unceremoniously dumped from the judging panel as pressure mounted for Cowell to deliver the right stuff to a discriminating American audience. Drama. Dramazzzz. Trading in the British import for former Pussy Cat Doll Nicole Scherzinger was a calculated, hopefully not costly, move. With the magic of editing, Nicole appeared during the show’s second half, retiring her leather hot pants for a skintight mini.
As the X Factor season progresses, each member of the illustrious panel will be assigned one of four categories- either girls between 12 and 30, boys between 12 and 30, individuals over 30, or groups. Never fear, there is still time for Paula to have a nervous breakdown . Not only will the all-star panel offer criticism for other categories, but the judges will also compete to make their act the top ‘dawg.’ One lucky guy, gal, or guals- new word-stand to win a staggering 5 million bones. So does X mark the spot? Seacrest, don’t retire your mic, yet. America, stay tuned. I know I will.