The X Factor: A 12-Step Plan to Salvage Season 3

Think fast: Would you rather get a root canal from your car mechanic or set your DVR to record Season 3 of The X Factor?

Okay, maybe Fox’s other reality singing competition isn’t quite that painful. But with sagging Season 2 ratings and rumors that mentor Britney Spears is about to get pink-slipped, it’s pretty clear Simon Cowell will have to consider an overhaul at least as big as the one he enacted at the end of the show’s lackluster freshman voyage.

VIDEO | Reality Check Dissects the Voice and X Factor Finales! Plus: How to Make ‘Em Better Shows

Whatever the case, the real looming question remains: Is it too late to save the show?

If Cowell thinks the answer is as easy as swapping out one bold-faced name for another — or praying at the Oracle Kardashian for wisdom — then The X Factor seems doomed. On the other hand, if Simon is willing to consider some of the advice in our 12-Step Plan for Season 3, he might turn his expensive lemon into a sleek Maserati.

PHOTOS | X Factor: The 25 Best Performances of Season 2

Check out our advice below, then hit the comments with your thoughts on how to save The X Factor in Season 3!

Comments (109)

  • sorry to start with a correction, but Britney was with the “teens” not the “young adults”.

    another correction worth mentioning- it would be easier to cancel the show altogether, that’s the real improvement we need here. but great effort Slezak!

    Comment by noa – December 28, 2012 02:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Good catch…they really should’ve just called them the “Too Young for Primetimes.”

      Comment by Michael Slezak – December 28, 2012 02:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • sure sure. or maybe “half the age and twice as good as the young adults”?

        Comment by noa – December 28, 2012 02:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Michael,
          I would love for you to watch this last season of the X Factor in the UK and get your opinion
          I don’t know if it’s the accents or what, but the show seems to be much funner and less of a hot mess…Even Nicole seemed more appealing
          The one big difference seems to be the lack of “teens” which I think makes the US version a bit wacky.
          Please take a look at a couple of episodes from the UK and see if you think the show is still a mess. Thanks

          Comment by Jake – December 30, 2012 08:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • I completely agree. X Factor UK is SOOO much better. First, Dermont O’Leary is basically the best host ever. (Having a good host really does make a world of difference!) I was also quite surprised to find that I really liked Nicole Scherzinger on the UK version too, considering I was a major detractor of hers when she was on Season 1.

            I also find that the UK just embraces the camp of it all much more than us cynical Americans. Haha. Could you imagine anyone trying to pull off Rylan’s performances (Think Rylan Style or Spice Girls) on X Factor USA?! They’d be laughed off the stage. In the UK, he sticks around until the quarterfinals!

            That’s why it’s so frustrating in the US, because I know the format can work…it just seems like they did everything wrong in bringing it to the US. Slezak’s got some great ideas though!

            Comment by ktbanks – January 3, 2013 08:00 AM PDT  
          • I agree completely as well. The UK version is way more fun and way less filled with sob stories, scenes of fake mentoring/backstage drama and overloud audiences. The judges give better feedback. Dermott is an awesome host, and I even like Nicole Scherzinger on it. It also just seems like the contestants are way more talented and I actually look forward to seeing (almost all of) them perform.

            Comment by Dayrah – January 3, 2013 01:49 PM PDT  
    • You’re a idiot.

      Comment by The Doctor – December 29, 2012 02:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It always bothers me when people call teenagers “young adults.” A young adult is an adult who is young. To me, that means people in their 20s and 30s. If a teenager is a “young adult,” then so is a child, baby, toddler, fetus, etc. For that matter, we might as well call all humans “future corpses.”

      Comment by CJ – December 29, 2012 10:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • 18-25 … Young Adults. Seems right to me

        Comment by Rex – January 11, 2013 11:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The show loses some of it’s appeal because it tries to do too much too soon. Where American Idol shows the progression of aspiring artist, X-Factor has high dollar sets, outfits, and backup dancers in week number one. Week one of the X-Factor is as big of a production as the American Idol finale. These contestants aren’t stars yet, we like to see them progress, not automatically be given the look of stardom and fame that isn’t real. There is a reason most people prefer the auditions and the performances at the judges homes more than they do the actual live shows. Its because its pure, just artist fighting for what they have a passion for, and being willing to put it all on the line to achieve their dreams. Yes britanny can go, she was very generic in all her feedback, Ellen Degeneres, though not a musician, put much more thought into her responses on Idol. Fans like it simple and about the music, that’s why Tate Stevens won, not necessarily because he was the best singer, but because he consistent, kept it simple and purely about the music. You never saw him with a huge background set or him being lowered from the ceiling, save that stuff for Lady GaGa.

      Comment by Cedric – December 30, 2012 09:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Britney mentored the teens, not the young adults.

    Comment by kate – December 28, 2012 02:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Get rid of Khloe, b/c she is unqualified for hosting duties. It was so awkward throughout the entire season. I don’t mind Mario, b/c at least he has prior experience and knows what he is doing. Please turn down the volume of the audience. It was tough to listen to the acts without all the people screaming from the audience. I agree about the double elimination as well. It was too short of time allowed for the live shows. Yes, I miss funny Simon, what happened to his Idol version of himself. You never know what he was going to say back than. That was so appealing of Simon in the first place.

    Comment by Allyson – December 28, 2012 02:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Honestly, Khloe is not the issue, in some ways her being a hot mess of a host makes things more entertaining. The biggest issue I have with the show is that it comes across as cotton candy and fluff rather than genuine. What the hell does that mean?

      They need to REALLY tone down the stage, there is WAY too much crap going on and it makes the contestants look like insects and a sideshow rather than the main attraction. Paige descending from the heavens? Superglued party dress jewels on her lips? so much attention paid to THOSE details, and her actual singing ?!?!? Non existent.

      The PRIMARY reason I want to watch these shows is to see someone sing amazingly well. It’s not about the judges, I don’t care about them, I care about the contestants (that I like). And I want to see them do well. If the pool of contestants is bad (like the lee dewyze AI year), then the show will stink. It DOES NOT MATTER what celebrity judge you put on, the judges are NOT the stars of the show, I am sorry, they are not. If they were we would just have the camera on them the entire time.

      The contestants on xfactor this year were weak. Period. That above all else is what made the show suffer. I did not want to hear tate sing ANYthing. I liked Beatrice, and she was let go. Arin Ray is f*cking beautiful, but his singing was not stellar in the way that would make me want to listen to him. (btw Aaron, lifes not over, go model, or act, there is plenty you can excel at that highlights your strengths). Carly was a sterile singer, lyric 145 peaked with party in the USA, fifth harmony never moved me. Paige… disaster. Cece… disaster. If there were others I have already forgotten them. That’s how bad it was. The season was a black hole of enjoyment.

      On the voice I had amanda brown, de’borah, terry (earlier in the season he was great), nicholas at points, and there were numerous battle rounds contestants that never made it through that were pretty damn enjoyable to listen to:

      It was just a joy to watch as opposed to Boring incarnate tate stevens (almost fell asleep typing his name).

      Comment by Ty – December 29, 2012 04:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Spot. On.

    I’d love to see what goes into getting songs ready to go each week, or a bit more of the rehearsals. I wanted to care about contestants, but except for Paige and Tate, most of them came off as characters rather than real people.

    Comment by John – December 28, 2012 02:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with all your comments, Michael, except getting rid of the double eliminations. The show was so painful to watch (but since I’m a masochist, I didn’t bail) that I liked having the series end faster with 2 acts going home each week.

    I would add: cutting the performance shows to 90 and 60 minutes once the field gets winnowed down, and the results show back to 30 minutes. There hasn’t been enough talk about the slipping ratings of the talent shows (AI, Voice, X Factor, DWTS) due to the fact that they went from 90 minutes a week (the first season of AI) to 180 minutes a week. People are burnt out on all the padding of these shows.

    Comment by George – December 28, 2012 02:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This is a very good point, but that might not be something the producers can fix. I would instead suggest taking a page from the DWTS and SYTYCD books and giving us interesting filler. I think the audience might appreciate a little meat and potatoes with the fluffy cotton candy of the performances.

      How about, if it’s say, a theme week based on the Monkees, we see a mini-documentary about the Pre-Fab Four? Not just a two minute rush through their bios, but ten minutes. Enough to fill in some history for us. And the Monkees is just an absurd example. It would be even more worthwhile to get a ten minute piece on Motown or Disco, or Swing Music.

      How about a mini-documentary on the ways that fashion and music have influenced each other? It might help the audience appreciate someone like CeCe Frey a bit more.

      I found your piece with Brian Friedman very interesting. Maybe the TV audience would enjoy learning how the production happens on the show they are watching.

      That’s three ideas from someone sitting on her couch spending five minutes thought on the show. Just imagine what could happen if real professional producers put their minds to it!

      Comment by Montavilla – December 28, 2012 06:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • A ten-minute history lesson? No, thanks! I would fall asleep. It sounds terribly boring and is not why I watch the show.

        Comment by Alex – December 28, 2012 07:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Monkees theme week sounds awesome, not absurd! No joke. Maybe their great non-radio songs would get some airplay…

        Comment by carly – December 28, 2012 09:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Actually, I have a number of their albums and there are some great songs. I love “Door Into Summer.”

          Comment by Montavilla – December 30, 2012 01:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’d definitely cancel the show but since it’s already been renewed…. I agree with a lot of what you said. Unfortunately for them the Voice is just so good and the chemistry between Adam and Blake is unmatchable. I think the X Factor is doomed.

    Comment by mick – December 28, 2012 02:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The Voice sucks. The voice wishes it was as good as the x factor. Go kill yourself little bitch

      Comment by The Doctor – December 29, 2012 02:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I hope they don’t fix anything and X Factor gets more and more embarrassing until it finally dies a sad death. Whatever provides maximum shame for Simon Cow.

      Comment by CJ – December 29, 2012 10:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think in the audition process, we need host to carry the flow of the show, just like x factor UK does. And please do copy everything from X factor UK, especially the editing. Also the over the top drama and production. I think that will save this show. Or bring back Cheryl.

    Comment by iqbal – December 28, 2012 02:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Everything wrong with “The X Factor” can be seen in the intro for the show. The giant X flying right next to planets. They’re trying to go soooo big, it’s just too much!

    Here’s what I would change:
    1) All four judges needs to go. Britney is a nice woman, but it’s not worth it. The reason no one is taking Simon seriously anymore is because he’s also the creater/producer of the show. You know every time someone goes on stage, he’s only thinking about money and how the situatuon can create more buzz, and that’s not the Simon we saw on American Idol, who seemed like he could care less what happened and only said something was good, if it actually was. 2) Take it down a notch or two or three, and give us an earnest down to earth show, where mentors actually works with their contestants and cares about them. As it has already been stated, hire mentors who actually LIKES doing their job. And also stop making every live-show performance into a theme park. That’s the reason Tate won. He didn’t have all those things, and he was the only contestant viewers actually got to know. 3) Instead of making more live-shows, they should cut down on the contestants making it to live-shows instead. Three for each group is enough OR make three categories (over 25, under 25, groups) and then take four from each. If they went with three judges it would also make for much more interesting scenarioes when they had to vote someone out, since there wouldn’t be any “dead-locks”. 4) As it has also been stated, and also mentioned by Melinda, they need to stop “making” drama and show real stuff instead. I wanted to throw the remote at my TV when LA had his birthday and Britney “suddenly” thought they should make a cake and sing a song for him. It was completely staged and I couldn’t take it seriously. Many things are so clearly edited and taken out of context, it’s ridicolous. // All in all, I don’t think X Factor will do any of these things. Next year I’m sure we’ll see KeDOLLARSIGNha and (insert bro-name yourself) Jonas on the panel, giving just as bad critigues as the people they replaced, and the X Factor will be cancelled, but I know for a fact that the show can actually be good (as I’ve seen in European versions), so hopefully someone on the show is willing to make a move and try to save this show from going to the reality singing competition graveyard. Good luck, Simon.

    Comment by Mik – December 28, 2012 03:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They do make a bit much of the whole deal. In fact one of the questions they send out on the audience tracker for the show ask you to rate on a scale from 1 to 5 how heroic the judges are haha. I mean come on, heroic?? Heroic?? (said with Jim Mora voice saying playoffs? playoffs?) Who writes the surveys, Napoleon?

      Comment by HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy – January 10, 2013 06:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The only way to fix this show is to cancel it. It is irrelevant and we could use one less singing competition and this has the least buzz of them all. Free the airwaves from this overproduced garbage.

    Comment by Joel – December 28, 2012 03:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You are a dumb little bitch

      Comment by The Doctor – December 29, 2012 02:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Mr. Cowell, your jet is ready to fly you back to old Blighty. I see you’ve forgotten your sedatives again.

        Comment by froab – December 29, 2012 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • AMEN! On the other hand, there’s much better stuff on other networks at the time this aired…taking up space prevented Fox from possibly scheduling something I might like. It was great having a block of time on a network that is completely worthless.

      Comment by jw – December 29, 2012 10:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You know, I love Britney and Demi, but they didn’t seen to comment on the actual singing of the contestants. I think that singing is the thing they should be judging, not cuteness (because we, ordinary people, can’t tell whether someone is a good singer with great vocals and everything, but we can tell the obvious, so they didn’t have to comment on that).

    In my opinion, Cheryl Cole shouldn’t have been fired in 2011, she was a great judge and mentor in past, and she was actually doing the job she was supposed to do.

    Oh and yes, I totally Agree with Allyson, Khloe was not really good at being a host, plus I didn’t like her at all – her “good luck” comments didn’t seem to be sincere, and why on Earth did she keep touching Mario? That looked so weird to me.

    Comment by Gabriela – December 28, 2012 03:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I watched bits of X-Factor to follow certain performers before the show got its horrific hosts. Frankly, the show was better with no hosts – it was more immediate; more intriguing, and a lot more fun.

    They should scrap the idea of hosts and just go with the judges and the contestants. That I’d watch (and since I’ve still never made it through a full show of any reality series – competitive ot otherwise – that’s no small thing for me).

    Comment by Sheldon W. – December 28, 2012 03:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with everything, but I have to add:

    - Bring Cheryl Cole back and show her backstage mentoring skills
    - Announce judges and hosts on time, so we get time to get ready.
    - Highlight the judges on the auditions (they are after all the only constant during this stage), and the contestants on the live shows (judges don’t need to be the center of everything the whole season).
    - NO DOUBLE ELIMINATIONS, the idea of having the judges there to choose who needs to be saved is completely lost when great acts like Lyric are terminated in mere seconds and taken away by security without the chance of being voted to safety.
    - If they bring Cheryl Cole back, heck, bring a panel of unknown, or semiknown brits to judge the show, we are fools for accents, and having a completely international panel would bring a different vibe to the show that would completely differentiate it from “The Voice” and “American Idol”.
    - Change Pepsi for another soft drink, any other (Coke fan, sorry).
    - Kids ages 16 up, and no little kids category please.

    Comment by raftrap – December 28, 2012 03:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yea, I LOVE coke and HATE pepsi. I am so sick of the non-stop producement placements! I don’t understand why Cheryl was fired. It doesn’t make sense. I am hoping Simon starts returning to his old self from Idol days. I miss his comments. Sure there were harsh at times,but he was honest. I have to agree it seemed like the mentors weren’t mentoring enough and the only time they were, it was for the cameras. Why does Britney need 15 million to judge if she isn’t actually judging. Demi was so annoying. I felt like she was trying to be Paula Abdul and bantering with Simon. Just whatever X-Factor does is get rid of Khloe!

      Comment by Allyson – December 28, 2012 04:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I meant non-stop product placements. It is annoying. IT doesn’t make me want to buy the product at all!

        Comment by Allyson – December 28, 2012 04:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Whilst I do think there are too many double eliminations, as a UK-er who has sat through 9 series of the programme over here, ours goes on way too long when it starts in late August and goes on until two weeks before Christmas. And I much prefer the editing of the US version because although we are all aware of how fake the show is, the US version doesn’t come across quite so manipulated and is frankly much more enjoyable for me to watch. I totally agree about needing judges who are actually mentors though, you could tell on the most recent series of the UK version that Nicole Scherzinger put in a lot more time into mentoring her acts than the other judges, and far more time than any of the US judges do.

    Comment by Lois – December 28, 2012 03:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh and don’t even get me started on Khloe, a cardboard cutout could have done a better job.

      Comment by Lois – December 28, 2012 03:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I actually prefer her to Mario Lopez.

        Comment by raftrap – December 28, 2012 03:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Don’t bother. They don’t listen. Everything you suggested has already been demanded by fans of the show last season but all the changes they made are the ones that made the show worse.

    Comment by Daniel – December 28, 2012 03:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’d cancel the series, too, but they’ve already dealt their hand on the next round. The problem with this show is that they aren’t primarily concerned with finding someone who can sing. It’s certainly one of the factors, but their M.O. is to find someone who is the most marketable of singers, which is why the performers are constantly swallowed up in gaudy theatrics and stage dressing.

    With that being their primary drive, there’s no motivation for them to focus on anything but the extravagance at the cost of everything else. If they were to make a number of these suggested changes, they’d feel like they were just trying to be “another” of the singing competitions that are already successful on TV. Problem is, that’s exactly what the show is. And if they attempt to move in a direction to dial down the spectacle and legitimately focus on the talent, the fact that the show is second rate would become abundantly clear and it would fade into obscurity.

    The reality is that the series just came along far too late in the game. With ‘The Voice’ and ‘Idol’ sewing up these kinds of competitions, it would be best to just shelve the whole endeavor. Instead, they’re just going to waste a lot of money on a third season that even fewer people are going to tune into.

    Comment by Playhouse – December 28, 2012 03:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • can we call a moratorium on the “sob stories” please? i want to vote for the voice i prefer, not for the person who is least likely to survive being eliminated. each week i was afraid my vote was going to be the one to doom that poor little (insert name here) to a life of unending (poverty/obscurity/turmoil/tragedy of your choice) instead of being the vote to give a chance at a great career to a great singer!

    Comment by broncfanwa – December 28, 2012 03:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • +1

      Comment by HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy – January 10, 2013 06:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Idol and X-Factor are both traveling in a handbasket. Idol because they refuse to limit the voting and X because Simon is an unmitigated a$$.

    Comment by Templar – December 28, 2012 04:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh Idol does need to change voting system. They lost the surprising factor a long time ago, b/c the same type of singer wins every year, which is why I stopped watching that show.

      Comment by Allyson – December 28, 2012 04:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • With Idol I am almost guaranteed the winner will be a platinum selling artist who can sing, play at least one musical instrument, and write music.

        Comment by teatime – December 29, 2012 07:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • You’re also guaranteed a WGWG. Unless they limit the voting, you’ll never see another female winner.

          Comment by Suzie – December 29, 2012 08:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Females can play instruments, too. For some reason other than Crystal, few play an instrument on stage more than once if at all. Crystal got to second place and almost won.

            Comment by teatime – December 29, 2012 10:55 AM PDT  
          • Skylar was more than half way thru the live shows before she played guitar on stage for the first time. She was advised against playing the guitar in her performances even though it is natural to her to perform with her guitar. All 5 previous winners and 3 of the 5 previous runners up had regularly played instruments to accompany themselves. I guess she was not The Chosen One her season.

            Comment by teatime – December 29, 2012 11:43 AM PDT  
          • Oops, I got my numbers wrong. Skylar was on the 5th season where instruments were allowed. The 4 previous winners and 2 of the 4 previous runners up regularly played instruments. My point stands that playing instruments helps a contestant’s chances yet female musicians are lsee likely to play an instrument during their performances.

            Comment by teatime – December 29, 2012 11:59 AM PDT  
          • I can’t recall the last time a woman did win the title of American Idol. I can tell you right now before the season even starts, a WGWG will win! No suspense, no shock, no excitment. Let me guess the producers will brag about their “100 million” votes as if it is for real. They let people vote in so many times, which is STUPID!

            Comment by Allyson – December 29, 2012 12:58 PM PDT  
          • The last girl to win was Jordin Sparks in season [I believe] 6. Then the number of teens and tweens with cell phones exploded. Now, these girls gather every cell phone in the house [mom's, dad's, sibs] plus fire up the computer and they text vote, land line vote, online vote and cell vote up to thousands of times for their fave. Yes, there were cell phones before then, but not that many cell phones in each household. The only way to make it fair is to limit the voting to say, 10 per device.

            Comment by Templar – December 29, 2012 04:05 PM PDT  
      • +1 voting need to change, how much of a difference in results it will make, who knows, but it needs to change regardless

        Comment by HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy – January 10, 2013 06:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The show was doomed the moment Simon Cowell fired Cheryl Cole in season 1, it’s been one bad decision after another. The only way to save season 3 is by canceling it before going into air.

    Comment by JAA – December 28, 2012 04:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • There is no reason for me to watch season 3. Even if he hires mentors I like Simon will blame them for X-Factor not being a mega smash and then fire them after one season. His opinions have gotten pretty terrible lately as well.

      Comment by Tenderness – December 28, 2012 04:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wish they would stop all the hometown shots on the final 2 nights. It’s just like after a bad storm and the local news seems to find the biggest idiot in town to interview.

    Mario and Khloe are so bad. I was surprised that he wasn’t better. I really appreciate the ease that Seacrest brings. He is such a natural. Maybe Jason Kennedy would be a good choice since he was cheated out of the E News anchor job.

    If/when they ditch Brittney, I will miss those ridiculous faces they catch her making. That’s the most entertaining part of the show!

    Comment by Gidget – December 28, 2012 04:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cancel this and put Simon back on American Idol. At least they can save one show that way, or give it a lifeline for a while. Alternately, I love the idea of making the coaches actually coach, or show us more of the people who are actually mentoring them backstage. It already feels like these coaches don’t do much, but at least on the Voice, you get the sense that for the little amount of time they spend with them, the coaches are actually present in the room and giving them advice that will help them, even Christina. And it feels like Blake really does mentor them, what with the way he takes some of them on the road. But maybe I’m kidding myself.

    Britney has to go. I think Demi is better, at least she has some sort of rapport with Simon, but her bratty routine probably grates too much, though not on me. But Demi does seem sort of into what she’s doing, even if her acts flamed out. Maybe the can hire a mentor for her. Hell, maybe Katy Perry would be a good addition at this point.

    The only other thing I can think of is for them to turn their chairs around.

    Comment by dan – December 28, 2012 04:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • NBC’s TheVoice is a ratings winner Fox’s X-Factor is a ratings flop

    Comment by nickp91 – December 28, 2012 05:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • X-FACTOR should trade judging panels with THE VOICE…that would shake things up on both shows

      Comment by seattlejohn449 – December 28, 2012 10:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • (1) Judges should not be mentors and vice versa. (2) Choose a genre for each week, i.e., a capella, country, movie song, pop, etc. After all, just because you’re a rapper doesn’t mean that at some time in your singing life you won’t be asked to sing a duet or the the National Anthem at a function. Let the contestant choose a song, and let the mentor choose a song. Then the contestant makes the final choice to use and the mentor helps stage it. Get rid of over the top stage dancers and vocals–stop engulfing the contestant (3) Let original material and instruments be used as often as fits the genre category. This is after all, an X factor search and not a singing search (4) One background cover story each once only at the start of the live shows (5) Let the audience choose the winners/losers since they are the buyers in the market. (6) Stop dressing the contestants in porn clothing. (7) Let the judges know they can use more of the English language than the same 10 words they used all season when providing critique. Critique should be worded in a manner that is instructive rather than directed at other judges which helps no one and leaves the contestant in the detestible position of having to defend the judge. After all, you are trying to guide contestants into being more comfortable in the entertainment world.

    P.S. Cyndi Lauper would be an excellent mentor.

    Comment by socalgal – December 28, 2012 05:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would have the four judges be: Elton John, Pink, Joe Jonas, and Michael Buble’. Have Beyonce and Justin Timberlake and Chaka Khan mentor. And have only Simon and 1 random judge vote who stays and goes or send it to public vote if a tie.

    Comment by Scott – December 28, 2012 05:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Garbage can’t be saved.

    Comment by John – December 28, 2012 05:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Sure it can. Haven’t you ever watched Hoarders? LOL

      Comment by Templar – December 29, 2012 04:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This show i would watch Michael Slezak!

    Comment by Crystal – December 28, 2012 05:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • From your pen to Simon Cowell’s ears! This was 100% SPOT ON!!

    12 finalists, no double eliminations, If need to, do a final’s week with the final 4….

    And, what’s up with the constant positive comments when the performance is soooo obviously bad?? Britney & Demi go bye, bye!!

    My dream judging panel:

    Simon Cowell (The old version)
    David Foster (The perfect judge in my eyes, Simon’s bad ass older brother with bravado)
    Katy Perry (Did GREAT as a gest judge!!!)

    4th place…..

    Justin Timberlake
    50 cent (Wishfull thinking)
    Dr Dre (If you’re giving away 15 mill. Give it to someone who matters)
    Diana Ross (Strange choice, but she was bitchin as a guest mentor on idol)
    Lady Gaga (Would be interesting)
    Adele (She’s NUTS, could be great fun)
    Alicia Keys (She ain’t stupid)
    Justin Bieber (Ratings R’Us – DEMO)
    Garth Brooks/Tim McGraw/Reba/Faith Hill/Toby Keith (Middle America)

    Comment by Michael Weerasinghe – December 28, 2012 06:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree with all of Slezak’s suggestions. I sincerely hope Simon (or one of his assistants or someone who works for the show or FOX) reads these and takes them to heart. Only thing I might add is toning down the lights – sometimes the lighting on the show is so garrish and over the top that it can induce headaches, much in the way the excessive background noise does.

    Comment by Tess – December 28, 2012 06:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cancel it!! Replace with a 90 minute Glee to do both locations more justice!

    Comment by boiler – December 28, 2012 07:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Totally agree!! Hadn’t thought of it but Diana Ross would be epic as one of the judges!!

    Comment by Scott – December 28, 2012 07:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Cher would be good, too, but she’d never put up with Simon.

      Comment by Templar – December 29, 2012 04:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I’m a huge Supremes/Diana Ross fan, therefore, I DISAGREE! I don’t want Miss Ross to lose any more credibility/integrity because she gave some musicially-challenged 10-year-old’s heartthrob of a boy toy a negative critique.

      (I saw some incredibly troubling comments some “youngins” made about the legendary Gladys Knight when the songstress made tounge-in-cheek comments about Paris Jackson. Have the have no respect for the legends? By the way, Miss Knight is doing a terrific job on the recently resurrected “Apollo Live”!!!!)

      I think Miss Ross should continue performing for the President…and stuff…!

      Comment by RodMod – January 1, 2013 02:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Let the judges just judge and have separate mentors. Put the emphasis on the contestants, not the judges or the over-production. Oh, and have fewer 2-hour shows!

    Comment by Peb – December 28, 2012 07:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Separate the judge role from the mentor role. You rarely get useful commentary from all 4 because one of them is vested in “their act.” The problem is that the judges thing the show is about THEM! There is nothing wrong with having mentors who are vested but how about making them real music producers. Make the show about producers working with artists to craft a sound that will actually be on their record if they win.

    Comment by Adam – December 28, 2012 08:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • How aboout Cat Deeley to host? Doesn´t get more human than that!

    Comment by Carla – December 29, 2012 04:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    He’s an arrogant self involved jerk.
    He claimed that “his” show would do better than American Idol…and the ratings for X Factor have never even come close to the worst ratings for idol.

    Comment by qj201 – December 29, 2012 05:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So basically X Factor should copy that The Voice did this season and made it so great. This read like a homage to The Voice.
    X Factor is pretty much dead. Not only in the US and UK having it’s lowest rating season since the premiere one. Even in Germany, a forth season might not come to be after the 3rd season proved to be very very low rated and the head judge has decided to quit the show.
    X Factor has a big problem as a format in that it just copied Idol. Then came the new shiny kid called The Voice which was different and viewers ignored the ‘middle thing’ called X Factor and are choosing Idol & The Voice.

    I honestly don’t know a single thing that could save the show. I pity Simon though as his UK show has been in freefall and now it’s US sister too. And the German version on the verge of cancellation. He’s not a happy man.

    Comment by Sam – December 29, 2012 06:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Simon will be alright! Yes he wants more money but he can live on what he has! Not to mention dating Carmen Electra!

      Comment by JASon – December 29, 2012 07:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Simon is dating the handy-pass-around-pack? Yuck!

        Comment by Templar – December 29, 2012 04:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Welcome to Contrarian View. I’m your host, Craig, and you’d better read this while you have the chance because Slezak the Sleestak is in the habit of deleting my posts because I don’t agree with his every thought.

    I had a nice long version of this, but my browser froze so I’m just gonna do the abbreviated high points now.

    1) I disagree that X-Factor’s talent pool was poor. The top 2 are better than anyone who’s even performed on The Voice… including the “judges” who praise even no-talent folks constantly. (I don’t mind The Voice, but it jumped the shark for me this season when they had a singer come out that no one turned around for… and when she was done and they turned around (she couldn’t carry a melody to save her life) and saw she was a young, hot blonde girl, they urged her to come back “next season” and they’d “make sure to put her through.” Which is SUCH a violation of the whole concept of their show. Plus, all their judges are celebrities who want to be loved, so they never critique, only praise.

    2) Three names will emerge out of X-Factor season two: Carly Rose Soneclar, Tate Stevens and Jillian Jensen. Others? Not so much.

    3) Sick of people hating on X-Factor when it had the only judges who were even close to honest.

    That being said, I’ll play Sleestak’s reindeer games and offer up some ways to improve X-Factor (which is already my favorite music competition show, due to Simon).

    1) Eliminate “celebrity” judges and have the judging panel consist entirely of actual record producers. It’s too bad L.A. Reid isn’t coming back, because he fit the profile perfectly.

    In my “ideal” X-Factor, here are my panel of four judges:

    A) Simon Cowell. (Naturally.)

    B) Rick Rubin.

    C) T-Bone Burnett

    D) Jessica Corcoran

    2) If you MUST involve faded pop stars, have them act strictly as mentors, not judges. This includes keeping Simon out of mentoring.

    3) For the hosts, get a real announcer/interview type. That’s what made Ryan Seacrest work so well on American Idol. Suggestions/possibilities:

    A) Entertainment reporter/morning show host Steve Doocy. (Though he’s a bit older than ideal.)

    B) The Soup’s Joel McHale (once Community is killed off by NBC).

    C) Conan O’Brien

    D) Seth McFarlane (at least he’d add some humor, and he’s done well hosting award shows, plus he’s under contract to Fox anyway…)

    So, in my ideal world, X-Factor would feature Cowell, Rubin, Burnett and Corcoran as judges, four pop-stars as mentors, and… I personally prefer Joel McHale as host.

    That’s an X-Factor that would have some integrity that puts all other music shows to shame, because even if the judge’s panel aren’t well-known, they would ALL be free to be completely honest… like Simon is when he’s at his best.

    Nuff said. Contrarian View, out!

    Comment by Craig Hansen – December 29, 2012 06:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They shouldn’t make it all revolve around a 5 million-dollar contract-it just adds to the show’s bloated self-importance,(plus they remind the audience about it WAY too often).Simon Cowell’s attitude this season was so desperate and smug it was a complete turn off.I used to like him on Idol but his ego has got way out of hand.And for no reason,because his show stinks!

    Comment by RD – December 29, 2012 07:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The mentors and judges should be separate! They are obviously biased for own contestants! The Beitish show is not as bad!

    But mainly try to get cutting edge artists that can reinterpret material! The British X- factor is much better at this! James Arthur, Elle Henderson, we’re both doing amazing reinterpretations every week’ there was none of that on either season of Xfactor Us ! Maybe cause half the contestants were too young! Please bring the age limit up to 16!

    Comment by JASon – December 29, 2012 07:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • By the way, if Jessica Corcoran isn’t available, Sally Browder would make an excellent alternate.

    Comment by Craig Hansen – December 29, 2012 07:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My God, Slezak, you are a genius

    Comment by Lena – December 29, 2012 07:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • There should be a separate teen x-factor show.It’s that simple.Then I wouldn’t need to watch it at all and they could have crap talent like Ke$ha and Pitbull on results nights and it would cater to that audience.They could even have the screamers in the audience-hell,they could even have Khloe and Mario! I wouldn’t mind at all…l could watch the regular show and not hold my ears all the time and deal with the inane teeny crap they’ve been vomiting out at us.

    Comment by RD – December 29, 2012 07:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • But… why “save” it? If it’s not good… why don’t let it die?

    Comment by isabelle normand – December 29, 2012 07:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Root canal from a mechanic?

    You need some perspective… this is a reality entertainment programme. Don’t you think parents of dead children would love their kids back for a slice of something just so inconsequential and light hearted?

    Still, I’m sure Simon will take some of your “advice” on board – after all your extensive experience in launching multi-million dollar global franchises is sure to appeal.

    Comment by Tony – December 29, 2012 10:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Two seasons and two sets of judges….you have to make the TV audience feel comfortable with the judges, therefore, you don’t change them when the season changes. But Fox is running the show and not Simon…if anybody thinks Simon has a say in who the judges are or how the show is produced/choreographed you’re in another universe. No one wants to tune into a show and see a new set of “stars” each season….it doesn’t happen with nighttime TV it shouldn’t happen with singing shows….i.e., “the Voice”….AI did a “reboot” about three seasons ago and the audience had to warm again to a new team of judges, and then poof they were gone….we have to get used to a new set of judges and probably next season there will be another turnover….that’s why they keep Randy, because he’s an old shoe, love him or hate him. He’s a constant….look at DWTS, they don’t change judges and their judges are very ENTERtaining. Love them.

    Comment by SallyinChicago – December 29, 2012 10:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Simon and Demi stay. Everyone else goes. Look, This is a reality show and should be considered to be that first and foremost. Not a “talent competition” because legitimate talent is rarely ever discovered in this manner. 20 or so combined seasons of American Idol, X Factor and the Voice have produced perhaps half a dozen legit stars. Like all other reality shows, of course it is pre packaged and cleverly edited and heavily influenced behind the scenes and not true reality. That comes with the territory. American Idol at its highest point and the Voice now are popular because of the judging panel, not the contestants. The Voice will fade now that it’s losing two of its original judges. The first 5 combined seasons of USA X-Factor and the the Voice have in all probability failed to produce a single true mainstream recording star. Let’s not get twisted what this really is.

    Comment by dumas1000 – December 29, 2012 10:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I don’t equate ‘talent’ and ‘star.’ I watch these shows because of all the talent.

      Comment by teatime – December 29, 2012 01:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This show is on its final, contractually obligated season and will not be renewed. Nothing will change that so no effort will be made to change it. Get used to it folks. The only changes will be an effort to trim the budget down to the point where it breaks even.

    And for all this, I am glad. The show is an uncreative copy of an already tired format. Watch next year’s prize be a $5m dollar annuity or municipal savings bond.

    Also, wasnt it hilarious to see Melanie Amaro get quickly swept off stage? What mess. I look forward to its end.

    Comment by froab – December 29, 2012 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Wrong, Froab. Season 3 was not a guarantee. False assumption undermines your entire theory.

      Comment by craigintwincities – January 7, 2013 01:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • X-Factor has the same problem for me as AI, DWTS, Voice. The performances are so overproduced that the actual talent gets lost. They treat these contestants like they are multiple Grammy winners that sell out stadiums around the world. It it was the final two weeks or so and it was set up like a mini concert that is one thing. But it is too much for 1 1/2 minutes of perfomance that you actually lose the talent. Also it just doesn’t play the same on television as it would be there live. The X-Factor is the worse at this. I actually can’t watch the live shows because I get a headache with all the flashing lights.

    Comment by Jenny – December 29, 2012 05:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bring Cheryl Cole back. but not even her can save this show. they need to make it like the UK one and cut all the fake stuff.

    Comment by Bernadine – December 29, 2012 06:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Pretty much spot-on. But I think what’s really missing is the fun of the thing. Every moment just seemed like work, every “real life” moment felt overly earnest and more than a little depressing, and every time they mentioned the five million dollar prize, it kind of just hung there like a huge cloud of desperation.

    I watch the UK version via YouTube, and somehow everyone manages to be in a little more good-nature about it, and they all look like they damn well enjoyed themselves. Maybe because it airs on Saturday over there?

    Comment by Dan – December 29, 2012 08:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This was the first season I watched and I liked it. New judges would be good , liked LA, but not Britney or Demi. To me, those two were more negative than Simon! Also, don’t show the rankings, bc once they were shown, they stayed the same the whole time with the exception of the top two swapping ….so the winner was pretty much known early on, at least the 2 it would be between.

    Comment by Cassie – December 29, 2012 10:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The only reason I watched this X factor it was because carly rose voice and BRitny doing an amazing job.
    Simon clearly did not want carly rose to win.
    I will never listen to any song of Tate .
    Which more records will you sell Tate ‘s or carly rose?
    I can clearly say Simon should run after carly rose,because she is a treasure.

    Comment by חנה – December 30, 2012 02:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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