Extended X Factor Promo: Simon Cowell's Emotional Manipulation Got Me Choked Up!

Congratulations, Simon Cowell, evil British genius! In the course of a new eight-minute promo for your heavily hyped singing competition, The X Factor, you’ve managed to upend some of my most deeply held beliefs about reality television:

* That there’s no place on talent shows for kids under the age of 16 | Okay, yes, precocious 13-year-old Rachel Crow is a little too over-rehearsed with those sound bites — although “I’m a girl. I need my own bathroom” isn’t bad, especially if she came up with it herself — but when she starts singing “Mercy,” my jaw hits the keyboard with Pavlovian regularity. I hate myself for saying this, but I can’t wait to see what the kid does next.

* That it’s impossible for me to experience a genuine emotional response to a heavy-handed “feel something right this second!” audition package | Maybe I’m killing off the part of my brain devoted to cynicism with all the sauvignon blanc required to recap Bachelor Pad, but I’ve now gotten choked up on three separate occasions watching 42-year-old Stacy declare, “I don’t wanna die with this music in me, Simon!” Bonus sniffles for the mascara streaming down her face. Also: WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?

* That staged audience shots set to maudlin/inspirational music always ruin everything everything ever | Those “I’m on camera so I’d better look genuinely amazed!” reactions drive me bonkers on America’s Got Talent, but somehow they felt less disingenuous during Rachel and Stacy’s auditions. I dunno: Maybe the excitement of the Paula and Simon re-u-ooh-nion is making everything look more exciting than it is?

A few other observations…

* Paula definitely has a portrait in her attic that looks something like this.

* I wonder if Nicole Scherzingerwhatzit’s remark about getting her start on a reality competition — “I lived it, and I still live it” — betrays some kind of deep-seated fear that she’s going to be replaced by Mariah Carey one sweet day.

* Uff da to that X Factor convoy traveling through scenic American landscapes. You know they’re probably shipping their sets via FedEx plane.

* The white shirt Simon wears during that judges’ table squabble may be his most dangerous neckline ever. Someone get that man a button. Or three.

What do you think of the new X Factor promo? Are you planning to watch when it debuts Sept. 21? If so, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV, because there will be recaps!