Before The X Factor started, there was a lot of talk about how it’s too similar to American Idol. Early reviews compared Simon, Paula and LA Reid to the old days of Simon, Paula, and Randy Jackson and asked why they should watch. Well, the show premiered last month and it turns out those early opinion were spot on. The X Factor looks a lot like American Idol, but is that such a bad thing?
I watched American Idol in the first season and have been a loyal fan ever since. Like many Americans, I get sucked in by the hilarity of the bad auditions and the honest talent of the good ones. The next thing I know, I’m watching the finale and enjoying the hell out of it.
The X Factor is similarly addictive. The show parades a collection of hopefuls, some good, some bad, some atrocious and we, as fans, pick a favorite and settle in to root them on. However, if The X Factor is, in fact, too similar to American Idol, it’s the few differences that make it truly engaging.
Unlike AI, anyone over the age of 12 can audition for The X Factor, that means that not only do old people like me get to see their peers compete but the untapped talent pool of people over thirty finally have a place to show their talents.
The other big difference is that contestants can audition in groups and duos as well as by themselves. This is especially good for true music fans because it opens up the field of songs to more interesting arrangements than the usual simple ballads on Idol.
Sure, the audition process is a grueling exercise in manufactured drama and overproduced emotional outbreaks but isn’t that a small price to pay to see Paula and Simon reunited and doing the only thing they were ever any good at?