X Factor: Simon and L.A. on 'Humbling' Ratings, Weak Groups, and How Much 'Pretty' Matters

No debuting fall TV series got more publicity — or carried higher ratings expectations — than Simon Cowell’s U.S. version of The X Factor. But while initial ratings for the show’s four audition episodes didn’t hit  American Idol-level numbers — Episode 3, for example, drew a respectable, but not sensational, 11.5 million eyeballs — executive producer and head judge Simon Cowell says he thinks the show can grow to behemoth proportions as it heads into its “Boot Camp” and live-performance episodes. Cowell and fellow judge L.A. Reid sat down with TVLine to talk about the challenge of giving honest critiques in a live TV format, the question of whether or not to allow gay and lesbian contestants to talk openly about their sexual orientation, and the perils of “pimping” contestants too early in the season.

TVLINE | Simon, going into the season, you said you wanted The X Factor to be No. 1 in the ratings, that you weren’t going for any silver medals. So while 12.5 million viewers for a series premiere would make most folks happy, I’m wondering how you’re feeling about the early numbers: Humbled? Concerned?
SIMON COWELL | Humbled, but still competitive. We’re gonna get there in the end. I do believe that.
L.A. REID | Absolutely.
COWELL | And I say that after the first two weeks, taking into account what I’m reading, the word of mouth, the buzz. Buzz is more important than hype, you know?

TVLINE | I think, though, there’s a sense that the nation is experiencing a collective talent-competition fatigue. And if you’re going to achieve Idol-level ratings, you need to somehow convince an additional 8 million people to hop aboard The X Factor. What’s your pitch to convince people to invest four hours per week watching your show?
REID | People who say there’s a fatigue are generally not the public, because the public is into this. I mean, you can look at the YouTube hits and see that with each one of our contestants, on their own, the numbers are just through the roof. That speaks to the fans. They’re into this. Maybe our competitors or our critics at some level would like to think this is a fatigued genre, but I don’t think that’s true at all.
COWELL | I also think we’re approaching this, rightly so, as a start-of-decade show. You’ve got to bring in an audience, genuinely, who have not watched these types of shows before. That’s the key. We did this with Idol: You start young, and then, over time, as long as you’re good — as long as the talent’s good and engaging — they’ll tell their friends about it. You’re gonna see fatigue on other shows. That’s my gut feeling.
REID | That’s the beauty of [lowering The X Factor‘s minimum contestant age to 12]. That’s really smart. It really does speak to the kids. I went home this afternoon, my son was with his friend. His friend is 8 years old. The little kid was at the table singing, “Stop Looking at My Mom” [an original song by X Factor hopeful Brian Bradley]. It was random — he didn’t know I was in the room. And my kid isn’t running to the TV saying “Let’s watch X Factor!” This kid was a genuine fan.

TVLINE | You do make a point: There’s a whole generation of viewers who may not have been old enough to remember Kelly Clarkson got her start on Idol.
COWELL | I think you’ve got the bulk of kids under 16 who’ve never watched these shows — ever. I call them the YouTube generation. And that’s why I’m always careful of saying to people “You’re gonna love this,” because they’re gonna make their own minds up. We’re in a different world now with Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, where people are gonna decide the fate of this show. All we have to do is make the show as real as possible, make the contestants as great as we possibly can. And importantly, on the live shows, put on a show you’ve never, ever seen before.

TVLINE OK, speaking of the live shows, and bringing this back to your competitors — American Idol and The Voice — I’d say one of my biggest pet peeves as a viewer is that you get, say, 90 seconds of a contestant singing. And after that, you get three minutes of judges saying absolutely nothing of any importance. Saying nothing has almost become an art form.
REID | [Laughs] You won’t have that problem with us!

TVLINE Well, obviously the two of you aren’t exactly shy with your opinions. But it’s one thing to be good in the auditions, where everything is carefully edited. The live telecasts seem to be the undoing of a lot of reality judges. Do you have quips ready in the back of your brain that you can use when a performance falls flat? And how tough do you plan to be?
COWELL You can’t [have anything ready] until you’re there. I actually have worked with people who’ve done what you just mentioned. One person who turned up with a book of all these crazy insults, but they were all out of context. Somebody would sing and it was like, turn to Page 27: “You’re like a raspberry donut without the filling.” And I was like, “What are you talking about?” I swear to God!
REID | Every reaction is a genuine reaction.

TVLINE I think it must be harder than it looks, though. Simon, you’re one of the only people who’s sat in one of those chairs and managed to be consistently honest, tough, funny, and concise.
COWELL Well, thank you. I said to L.A., the very first day, because when you do the audition shows it’s a little like a live show. I said to L.A., “All you’ve got to do is do what you’ve done in your real life.” Because I’ve sat there with him when he’s been complimentary and not so complimentary. But at least you’ve got the comfort that you’ve created stars. So you just say whatever you think. And Paula, you certainly don’t have to worry with her. She says the first thing that comes into her head. [Laughs] But I take your point: I’m actually bored of the term “judges” now. You see them on every show. And if I could find a new word I would, because it’s more than that — it’s [about] not underestimating how intelligent the audience is. The audience knows a good singer from a bad singer. And you’ve got to be in the same mindset as them. And you’ve also got to give some constructive criticism to the artist as to why they haven’t got it right. Otherwise, anyone could do this job.

TVLINE Do you ever get butterflies before you dole out a harsh critique?
COWELL | I couldn’t care less

TVLINE So no problems being honest, then?
REID | Honesty doesn’t take work. It’s lying that takes work. [Laughs]
COWELL | [Laughs]
REID | Just say what’s on your mind. Because we really work in [the] music [business], and we really develop talent. So giving a critique or an opinion, it’s a genuine one. I promise you I don’t have a book of notes. I’m gonna say what I think. And by the way, I don’t always care if I’m right about what I said. I’m just gonna say what I feel in the moment. The honesty works.
COWELL |There was a girl [from the auditions], and she’s divided a lot of opinion — Tiah [Tolliver]. [And I’ve had a lot of people ask me] “What were you thinking on the day?” The great thing about music is there’s no definitive right or wrong. It’s subjective. But at least you’ve got an opinion. And most of the time, the contestants on these shows have got no clue what they’re doing. They’ve made all the wrong decisions, they’ve worn the wrong clothes, they’ve chosen the wrong style of music for themselves. And our job is to point them in the right direction. Leona Lewis, when she came on [The X Factor UK], hadn’t got a clue initially. She was fantastically talented, but we had to guide her to where we wanted her to end up in the real world. And that’s the thrill when you’ve got a great contestant who you’re mentoring properly.
REID | And if I’m on the fence about it, and [Simon] loves it, it’s really easy. If I were a betting man, you bet with the streak or you don’t bet at all.

TVLINE L.A., we’ve heard you repeatedly talk about contestants having “the face, the name, the voice.” I’ve found American voters, at least, don’t care as much about looks as you’d expect: People can do really well on these shows who are a little unconventional or quirky in the looks department. Do face and name really count to you?
REID | [We talked earlier] about the difference between a person winning a talent competition and having a career afterward, right? I’m a fan of star-making — people who are able to make stars. Watching what Simon’s done with Leona Lewis — and by the way Leona Lewis has a star’s name. It has a ring. To me it’s like lyrics — does it sing well, does it roll off your tongue well? And if it doesn’t, guess what? It’s odd, it’s weird, and it doesn’t work. That doesn’t mean it has to be simple. It could be Renee Zellweger. That just works.

TVLINE So could we see you advocating a name change for a contestant you’re mentoring?
REID I’ve been known to do it.
COWELL | We were talking about Drew Ryniewicz. Drop the Ryniewicz — she’s now Drew.

TVLINE And L.A., what about looks?
REID | It matters. Let’s not pretend it doesn’t matter. It absolutely matters. That’s not our defining, decision-making factor: We don’t see a contestant and say, “Because you look good or don’t look good, we’re going to say yes or no.”
COWELL | But also it’s about being comfortable in your skin. We’ve got this guy Josh [Krajcik] we saw in Chicago. He’s never gonna be good-looking, but at the same time you don’t want to lose what’s his real identity. Because it suits him being who he is.
REID So true.
COWELL | When I worked with Susan Boyle, it was very interesting. The first TV [appearance] we did with her after she won, she was overstyled, and she didn’t look like Susan anymore. And I asked her, “Do you feel comfortable?” And she said no. And I said, “I don’t feel comfortable, either.” I just want you to be comfortable in your own skin. That’s what you’ve got to learn with these artists. L.A.’s point is, if you’re cute, make it an asset.

TVLINE Another thing we need to discuss is the “groups” category on X Factor. [Eventually, all contestants are put in one of four categories: Boys, Girls, Over 30s, or Groups.] The group acts we saw going through in the audition rounds were pretty underwhelming. That one boy band, 4Shore, I couldn’t imagine what you were all so excited about. So I have to ask: Was there a collective panic among the mentors, with each one of you hoping you wouldn’t have to mentor the groups category?
REID | [Howls with laughter]
COWELL | You will see what’s known as an intervention. Major. I don’t want to give it away, but you’ll see.

TVLINE So we might see you mix and match group members, or maybe add some solo auditioners into a group?
COWELL |[Chiding] You’ll have to watch the show.

TVLINE I also wanted to talk about what’s known among reality fans as “pimped” contestants — when the judges or mentors push too hard on behalf of a particular singer too early in the season, and it begins to create a backlash among voters.
REID | Oh this is a new one!

TVLINE Simon, you know about this: It backfired during Idol finales when the judges were clearly pushing David Archuleta over David Cook, and Adam Lambert over Kris Allen.
COWELL | It’s a very good point, actually. I watch and I learn, and I’m aware of this. You’ve got to show the interesting contestants in the beginning. You’d be crazy not to. What we did on the boot camp show and the home-visit show is that, I don’t think we had any favored nations here. Everyone — whether you’re good or bad — gets equal billing. And it’s more interesting, funny enough, for the audience to make their own mind up. And I’m learning this more and more now.

TVLINE That also leads into the idea of backstory. Simon, I know you’ve previously said that it’s important to have those packages talking about the contestants’ lives before they came onto the show, but I’ll say from my perspective I’m usually more fascinated by the workaday “burrito slingers” than the ones where it’s like “I was attacked by wolves and then my house was carried away in a tornado.”
COWELL | What about both? That would be a good story.
REID [Howling] That’d be great.
COWELL | [Laughs] I’m selling burritos but at the same time my restaurant was in a hurricane!

TVLINE What about backstories involving gay and lesbian contestants? We saw several of them on The Voice, and it was kind of surprising, seeing how we’d never seen gay or lesbian contestants reference their sexuality over 10 seasons of Idol.
COWELL I don’t care. I couldn’t care less. We behave like we’re in the music business. When we sign an artist, there is no form where you fill in. If you’re a star, you’re a star.

TVLINE But will these contestants be able to discuss their sexual orientation out loud in front of a camera?
COWELL Absolutely. I couldn’t care less.

TVLINE And how much backstory is too much backstory?
COWELL | There’s a [problem with] repetition, and I’m very aware of this: Once you’ve told the story, it’s told. I don’t need to hear it over and over and over again. But we genuinely don’t know when the contestants come out [for auditions] — that’s why we ask them tons of questions: We’re not fed any notes and we have no biographical information. Chris Rene was an interesting point. We knew zilch about this guy; he was very cool and volunteered everything [about his drug addiction]. We learned about him at the same time as the audience, but it’s not something I think we need to constantly refer back to.

TVLINE And Chris Rene did it all with an original song, too.
REID | I thought that was really special: A couple people who came out with original songs [or arrangements] trended the highest on YouTube.

TVLINE But does that excite you or scare you as mentors — having an artist who already has a really strong opinion of what they want to do, a fixed idea of their musical identity, maybe even their own original music.
REID | That just tells me they have a post-season career. That’s what it says.
COWELL | Try telling Brian Bradley what to do. Forget it.

Are you sticking with X Factor to see how Boot Camp and the live-performance shows play out? Anything Simon or L.A. said in this interview that thrills or offends you? Sound off in the comments, and for all my X Factor news, views, and interviews, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Templar says:

    I think people are not enthusiastic about XF because the old shoes comfort of Idol is missing. The MC is not American, has little personality and is certainly no Ryan Seacrest. Randy is a crazy uncle that people love and has no counterpart on XF. And, while Paula is loved by many, Simon is not.

    • Ed says:

      Why does it matter that the host isn’t American?

    • Kim R says:

      Well…I guess I would have to respectfully have to disagree. Idol so soured me at the end of last season that I found it was a breath of, albeit brutally honest,air to have Simon back. I enjoy the MC on X far more than Ryan, whom I’m sure is a nice person, :) and as far as Randy goes….”in it to win it” was basically all he said. I don’t think we need his “counterpart” on the Factor…please!! haha It remains to be seen how this show will play out in the coming weeks but so far I don’t feel too manipulated which is something I could never say about Idol. Just my 2 cents! :)

      • Erin says:

        I’m with Kim… it’s borderline painful to watch Randy on Idol. I thought Jennifer/Steven were largely worthless too. Given the critiquing of last season (treating Haley like she was talentless and never calling Scottie or Lauren into question), I’ll take XF over Idol every day. I’d rather watch The Voice and The Sing Off than Idol either at this point. LA & Nicole are welcome additions to the Simon/Paula dynamic and I have no complaints whatsoever about the host, given that Ryan’s shtick hasn’t changed in 10 seasons.

        • Shindig says:

          To be 100% honest, if Steve whoever just stopped showing up to work – I wouldn’t even notice. He has absolutely no presence as far as I can tell. I’m trying to figure out if I love that or if I’m just confused

      • Steph says:

        Completely agree! I’ve had enough with the less-than-qualified judges on AI. XFactor made a mistake getting rid of Cheryl, but other than that, their panel is pretty solid. LA is a breath of fresh air… He is so much more articulate and coherent than Randy Jackson’s “yo dawwwgggggggg, for you for me” dribble.

    • Rebecca says:

      Ryan stinks! I watch Idol in spite of this talentless doofus. Also, I couldn’t care less that Steve Jones is not American. I don’t mind that Simon is British! And actually, Simon IS loved by many who value his honesty, knowledge, and insight.

      • Netta says:

        I absolutely agree. Ryan gets on my nerve. It seems like everything is always about him. It’s my understanding that Simon has a ton of money put into this and if he wants to hire a Brit to MC, so be it. It isn’t about the MC, it’s about the talent and this MC seems to mesh with the artists. That crap between Seacrest and Simon was one of the things that made me cringe about AI. Kelly is on XFactor UK and she is African-American.

    • kellybelly says:

      Watched the 1st episode of the audition round and it was exhausting. 2 hours for 6 “real” contestants? It was the same as other AI audition rounds, but with more hype. Way over the top. So we stopped it on the DVR. BUT we will tune in for the Boot Camps, etc.
      Despite what Simon says, I’m feeling the talent-show fatigue. So we’ll see.

    • Joseph says:

      My issues were a little different,
      I do not want to waste my time watching the rejects that are only there so they can be laughed at. It is cruel and a reason that with Idol, I just skip the auditions now.

      So what do they have all the rejects wasting my time and during those brief moments they give you a glimpse of an artist with some potential. So for me it makes sense just to skip the show.

      BTW , why the heck did they get a Randy look alike , really they needed a Randy look alike !

  2. Craig says:

    Just want to say Kudos to you Michael for asking all the real questions no one else will and cuitting through the BS. I like how you talked about the “pimping” etc and the fatigue with these kinds of shows.

    Simon should be humnbled by these numbers, instread he sounds as cocky as ever. If he’s seriously paying attention to the buzz he would see there’s lots of people that don’t think it’s as great (or different) as he’s inferring. It’s hysterical how he says the other shows will suffer fatigue, but not this one, even as this is the one that people are hardly flocking to in huge numbers (for this kind of show).

    I think it says it all when you ask does he take a deep breath before he rips someone apart and said “he couldn’t care less”. Really? I get that it’s you job to sort out the talent, but to me, not to care at all before your rip someone apart is kinda sad and why in addition the fact that this show is nothing new, I have no desire to see people ripped apart regularly.

  3. Charles says:

    Terrific interview! But I don’t know if I should believe everything Simon says, including the part about learning about the contestants at the same time as the audience…

    I’m thoroughly enjoying the show though, watching it and the UK version every week! And I gotta say I’m impressed with Paula. Shame they didn’t keep Cheryl and opted for Nicole, who’s the weak link in all of this in my humble opinion

    • JJ says:

      Agree with that 100% Nicole just feels awkward and artificial. I never thought it could get worse than Ellen’s uncomfortableness or Kara Dioguardi lack of chemistry with the panel and viewers but Nicole is completely out of step and lacks the X-Factor herself. Bring back Cheryl.

      • Bonnie says:

        100% agree. I was at the Chicago auditions and thought Cheryl was adorable and charming. Nicole is a raving egomaniac and that role is already filled in the form of a far more entertaining person (Simon).

        I also find the host completely AWKWARD!! He just kind of lurks, he doesn’t really know what to do or what to say. The only time he seems comfortable is when he is scripted. They need a Cat Deeley, not a pretty lurker boy.

  4. Daisyj says:

    In what universe does a show start by drawing in children and expand to adults from there?* That’s usually a sign of a dying trend, not a rising one.

    I’m disappointed that no one here seems to have learned anything from past mistakes– they’re just going to keep pimping the pretty people and chasing the next Beiber-bot, because that’s all they know how to do. Here’s hoping some real talent manages to rise in spite of it.

    *Okay, maybe Spongebob. But I don’t think anyone is watching this stoned.

    • Eurydice says:

      I think what Cowell meant is that the young viewers will grow into adulthood while watching the show. That’s why he said this is a “start of a decade” show.”

  5. xav says:

    Shoulda kept Cheryl, Simon. At least she was interesting.

  6. kt says:

    Great interview! Thanks for asking substantive questions. (I was lmao about the groups question!) But I really enjoyed it. I do think the ratings will grow from here…up until now the auditions are basically what you would see on an Idol/AGT hybrid, so we’ve all seen that before. Bootcamp and judges houses are really entertaining on the UK version, and I’d expect the US verstion to be the same! And once the live shows start and it’s down to the best of the best (and if the UK version is any indication, maybe a couple of controversail contestants too) it’ll be getting a lot of buzz!

  7. Alicia says:

    Don’t watch reality TV or competition shows, but I might have to start tuning in to this because they have some really talented contestants. As Simon mentioned, youtube is where I saw the acts and was just blown away. Once girl sang “Listen” even better than Beyonce herself (which isn’t that hard to do, lol) but it was chilling.
    This other guy (a trash collector who just got out of rehab) wrote the music and lyrics for an original composition and it was just so beautiful and moving, I was really floored. The entire room was, panel included, because as he’s sharing his story (and the song title) the judgment creeps in, but he was incredible.
    There were so many other great performances as well–wish they would put the songs on itunes! So yeah, judging from this long comment, I’m hooked and will be watching.

  8. Lucie says:

    I think X factor is awesome, far better than Idol (the new Idol, without Paula & Simon)

  9. Michael Dawson says:

    Someone should really remind Simon that Susan Boyle didn’t win Britain’s Got Talent!

  10. Esaul says:

    I really love and appreciate this interview. Very enjoyable. I can’t wait for X Factor to beat American Idol. This feels more about the creativity in music, and letting the voters pick the winners compared to Idol where they want a certain genre, limited creativity, and push for a certain person to win (even though that’s failed).

  11. GG says:

    While I haven’t been blown away so far by XF, speaking as a long time member of the Idoloonies nation, the audition weeks of Idol are drudgery for me as well. So I still have high hopes for the boot camp and live episodes of XF.
    Regarding the judges, I have always liked Simon and agree with him 80-90% of the time, although sometimes he can come across a little too harsh. And I am really liking L.A. He appears articulate and intelligent on camera, unlike his counterpart on AI, dawg.
    And to echo Slezak, I really hope that XF keeps the tear-jerker backstories and the pimping to minimum!

    • Jenn says:

      I agree with what you said here. The auditions have never been my favorite part of Idol or X factor, so I think we need to wait and see how or if the ratings improve once they are down to their final competitors. It always gets better after that. I too enjoy L.A. Reid, he brings another level of believability that they really are looking for talent and not just another pretty face that can sing a little.

  12. Adam Leonard says:

    Just wish that Michael had been able to ask about the need for a banned song list concept and whether the mentors will at least steer contestants away from the tired/over-used songs.

    • Botox says:

      They had them sing Whitney Houston… in the group performance round… lol what? So I have this strange feeling that no, they won’t be steering them away from tired/no touchy songs.

  13. Marcie says:

    Great interview. Just too bad it couldn’t have been a video like X-Loonies.

  14. Rebecca says:

    Now I’m really eager to see what happens with the groups. They have looked SO weak! I don’t think I’ve enjoyed any of them we’ve seen very much. Maybe if they move some solo acts into the group category, that would be a way to strengthen it while retaining talent that otherwise would not have made it through but is still excellent. Each category can have only eight entries. Imagine trying to cut the “girls under 30” down to eight people. Tough job! Then imagine moving the girls in let’s say positions 9-12 into a group slot instead. Assuming they sound good as a group, that could work out in a big way.

  15. JJ says:

    LA Reid is in denial when he says the general public isn’t suffering from singing competition fatigue. I watch Idol, The Voice and X-Factor…but still, I’m fatigued.

    It’s refreshing to hear Cowell be honest about the ratings. I hope he can better understand the editing and focus on bad talent (or non-talented, the “little homie” guy in particular) aren’t going to get people excited about a SINGING competition. Yes there is always a “story” to go with a contestant but the larger reason that guy was put through was because of his recovering addict story than a voice that wowed the audience.

    I wish there had been a question about Cowell’s cutting of Cheryl Cole and the overwhelmingly positive responses she got from tv insiders and viewers. I don’t expect him to say he regrets Nicole being on the panel but the feedback on her vs Cheryl is very much coming out that Nicole is phony/irritating while Cheryl had an X-Factor viewers wanted to know more of.

    I’m hoping they have some great talent we haven’t seen yet because thus far it’s few and far between. The kid rapper was talented but do I really want to hear him each week? No. He’s a novelty, there’s a market for him but he’s better off on America’s Got Talent.

    • Esaul says:

      You don’t make up the general public? And clearly the “general public” isn’t fatigued by this if it’s drawing double digit numbers for viewership.

  16. Gale says:

    The whole concept of a “judging panel” is superfluous to X Factor, because Simon berates the others when they have the audacity to disagree with him.

  17. connie says:

    I dont know whether people are tired of competitions shows. I am not sure why XFactor is not getting better ratings. I dont see any bad part of show. I did not care for Cheryl. I love Nicole. I love Paula Simon and LA. I am done with IDOL. It was torture last year. I appreciate Simon and LA’s honesty. Appreciate that the judges can disagree and not be fake. This is what a competition show should be. I wish more viewers would give it a chance!!

  18. Emma says:

    The judging on X Factor truly is better than in AI. The viewer doesn’t have to fear that the judging will drone on and on.

    That said, there have been plenty of hot air moments so far. Someone sings kind of mediocre, or starts good but ends up singing out of tune, and then L.A. is like “you are the reasons I’m here!” and I’m like “were they deaf? Do they revise history because they already know beforehand which ones they are going to let advance?”

    Also, the number of fourteen year olds getting airtime and advancing is truly scary. It’s different to take an adult burrito slinger and expect him/her to sort out the newfound fame, but this kind of show can really mess up a child.

  19. doug says:

    You say Leona Lewis hadnt got a clue before the xfactor is stupid. She could well have received a contract from sony without the show. in fact the show was starting to head into nowhere until a miss lewis turned up, like a bit of fresh air and revived it by being the first winner that was world class. its just ashame that simon doesnt pay attention to what he already has instead of neglecting leonas talent, and perhaps if clive davis had paid more attention to her after her great start she would be more acknowledged by everyone, and lets face it she can really sing without all the props, but simons to busy with cheryl who cant sing a note and clives still clinging to the past and american artists.

  20. Christina says:

    -Is Simon sure this show has buzz because no one is talking about this anywhere.
    – So they don’t believe there is competition show fatigue. They truly do live under a rock. And they aren’t going to make this show a phenomenon by targeting the tween’s for ratings since their opinion on what they like changes every second.
    – I’ll agree that the judging panel will have some substance to their comments. We wont be getting the saccharine ‘omg you’re great’ comments from them.
    – The groups category has been a disaster for years on the UK version its not different that here its the weakest category. Its a guarantee that groups will be made up at bootcamp. On the current UK season 3 of the 4 groups put through to the live show were manufactured by the judges. And how much do you want to bet Nicole got that category and threw a diva fit.

  21. kit says:

    Looking forward to the x-factor. I think Simon will be looking for a star. And time for slezax to get over his obsession with Kris Allen. Adam was pimped over Kris because he was better. And Adam did not lose because of Simon, he lost because there was an effort to deny him the win that had nothing to do with his talent. Even Slezak is aware of that. Adam’s post Idol effort has proved that Simon was right. Adam is a much bigger star and success story that Kris. Put it to rest man! You just make a comparison between and uninteresting dude and one the media loves just look more pathetic.

    • cam says:

      I’m still not over my obsession with Kris Allen.

    • DookDood says:

      Adam is not doing that great. He’s certainly not the second-coming of Elvis that they wanted us to believe at the time. A great deal of his media attention comes from when he does or says something stupid, just to keep his name around. Kris has done just fine considering he got a fraction of the publicity that Adam Lambert did. There are plenty of us eagerly awaiting Kris’ second album – one that he’ll have more control of.

  22. Shari says:

    You had asked about Cheryl! Love the show otherwise…

  23. Elaine says:

    Have to agree the auditions were becoming irritating because of too many bad singers and too much time spent on them, inluding Mr. Bouncy Dick. I’m looking forward to the mentoring .. I mean, it’s gotta be better than the mentoring on Idol.

    I thought Cheryl Cole was great — so warm, seemed really sincere with her comments, wasn’t afraid to appear totally confused by a contestant (that was kinda cute). I can see why the UK people like her so much and her accent wasn’t a poblem at all. Completely understandable. Wish they’d bring her back next season. make amends Simon, make amends.

    Hated the women judges not voting for beautiful women drama. Give me a break. The women voted for plenty of beautiful women. That whole thing was really demeaning and devalued the female judges. As much as I really respect Simon’s critiquing, I saw him on Ellen and he really played that whole thing up again. It’s insulting to women everywhere.

    Other than that major irritant for me, I’m looking forward to more XF.

    AI is history for me.

  24. Brian says:

    Simon&LA – excellent
    Paula – still Paula . kinda missed her
    Nicole – ok
    Cheryl – intriguing, sincere, wanted more. sorry she’s not still on the show. think we’re not getting the real story on her exit “being told she wasn’t comfortable in the US episodes just doesn’t make sense. she looked very comfortable.

    Glad the auditions are over. Agree the bad auditions become sickening pretty fast. Next season: more time on good auditions with a sprinkling of short-term bad ones. PLEase.
    Agree that the auditions are always painful and something y9u have to drudge through to get to the good stuff.

    Great hearing well rounded comments from the judges. All that “everyone is so wonderful” crap from the AI judges last season was aggravating.. enough that I wash my hands of that show. When I read all 3 judges were reeturning that ended it for me.

    Really like seeing all the different ages. Maybe a jackie evanchko or susan boyle knock our socks off.

    The elimination week is always interesting to me (even on AI). Fascinating to see which ones can handle the pressure and aren’t just a one-song singer.

    I’m sure the show
    will get more and more interesting now.

    And yes, there is some fatigue. As is the television executives way, every damn network has to jump on the reality compeition bandwagon with their own show. It’s unfortuante but the lemmings do follow the ratings juggernaut leads. Originality be damned. Anyway, XF… let’s rock!

  25. Michael says:

    What they’ve done with groups is said no to some solo singers and gone “You know what? You’d be good with these people” and mixed and matched – they do it every year on original X Factor and pretend like it’s always a big shock decision.

  26. diane says:

    Being older than 16, I am not their target audience, but here’s my 2 cents. Too many ridiculous tryouts, not enough talent…it’s a 2 hour format after all. I’ve seen them turn down middling good singers, and let someone like that Siamese, or the philosophy guy go through. If, as judges, their judgment is that bad or they refuse to take it seriously, it’s a mistake. If you don’t take the “find talent” part seriously, I won’t, and then there’s no reason for me to watch. And that “Don’t Look at My Mother” child, that was it for me. He should have been told to come back when he’s professional enough to act respectfully to adults. I do not want to spend the next few months watching a child emulating a thug, and worse, watching adults fawning over him. He was annoying and irritating and not that talented. The most successful shows, and their most successful moments, happened spontaneously, not because some producer plotted it out. That’s what I think is causing the fatigue. This show, and others like it, have become so over-produced, they bear no resemblence to reality.

  27. Fan says:

    Great job Michael for asking all the right questions. L A Reid is a breath of fresh type judge. Jury still out on Nicole. Did like Cheryl. Love Paula & Simon’s energy together.

    IA died for me when the mean girl ‘diva’ was hired. (Don’t blame you at all Marc Anthony for fleeing a spoiled only “pretty on the outside, but ugly on the inside” J Lo.) Randi sucks too with his limited vocab. Steven I love and will miss watching his clothes and scarves.

  28. Fean says:

    I love X-factor and am sick of AI judges and their inability to judge. Steven is the only one worth any money,he is at least entertaining,but even he isn’t a good judge. I agree that Cheryl was good and like this host just fine. I think I have overdosed on Ryan Seacrest. I’ll be glad when it gets down to the finale group.I’m not a fan of the bad singers in the audtion rounds. I also only need to hear those backstories once or not at all.

  29. J says:

    i wish it wasnt 2 hours & 1 hour & half…screws all my shows up lol..but still record it

  30. Jurybox says:

    So far, I’ve seen all the audition shows (thank heavens for the DVR), and I found them for the most part really entertaining. I think it’s amazing that people have the guts to do an audition in front of thousands of people, and it certainly ups the emotional impact of a talented singer – definitely better TV than the Idol audition. Like lots of others, I wish they would simply get rid of the bad singers, although it does add a little bit of suspense if you’re not sure someone’s going to be good or not before they start.

    But why did they feel it was ok to give creepy naked guy so much time? It was completely offensive, and – possibly illegal. Sorry, Simon can talk all he wants about the audience being smart and all, but keeping that guy on the air and not on the editing room floor was truly bad taste and disrespectful of the audience.

    Other than that, let me say it’s great having Simon and Paula back (is it me, or is Paula more articulate this time around?). I like LA Reid, and Nicole is an ice queen who may sing amazingly but boy does she come off as arrogant and cold on tv. I don’t buy any of her “this is why I love doing this – to be inspired by you” bs. I don’t miss Randy at all. He added nothing to the judging of Idol except a few tired catch-phrases.

    Seems to me they have some really interesting talent coming through and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. Good start, but not great. I’ll stick around, though.

  31. Leon says:

    X Factor is doing well. And for everybody saying auditions weren’t there thing, well auditions are over and now we get to see what X Factor really has to offer! The true talent and singers (with a few funny moments i’m sure). Can’t wait for tonight!

  32. MK204 says:

    I never liked Simon and lost total respect for Paula after she judged a contestant on Idol BEFORE he sang his second song. She completely parroted what she was scripted to say and never once apologized or owned up to it.

    So about the X Factor…no longer interested. Not concerned. Even Idol is getting old. Last season I enjoyed was 8.

    So count me out for watching or caring about what happens to Cowell and Co.

  33. Charlotte888 says:

    In 2008, Simon and IDOL’s “pushing” Archulta in the finale and bashing Cook for no reasons was a scam — an obvious, shameless attempt to create an angry backlash vote FOR David Cook.

    Which worked liked a charm. And everyboy I knew recognized it for the subterfuge — and sabotage — it was.

    I think David Cook would have likely won anyway. But they should have let it happen naturally.

  34. TheJsNana says:

    If we’re so against “bullying” in school because it damages self esteem, how do we allow it to take place on National television?? And why do we adults enjoy it so much. What are the stories of the broken hearted who go home shamed?

  35. kitty says:

    I really like the XFactor. I think Simon is good as always and really enjoy listening to him. Paula is also good, she is much sharper now then when on Idol. LA Reid is a class act; he obviously knows his stuff and I trust his opinion greatly. Nicole seems very empathetic and caring- I would put her on a par w/ J Lo- she seems fine to me and gives the judge panel what is needs. The host- bleh. Very non descript and I hate reading about his off camera antics all of the time- yuck. A change in host is necessary for season 2. This show is a breath of fresh air and I think 10x better then Idol. Less sensationalistic at the beginning, and it also comes off as much more genuine then Idol. Love it! I hope it succeeds.