Why Cowell's X-Factor Will Overtake Idol

Leaving 'American Idol' likely right move for Simon Cowell
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2010 1:45 PM CST
Why Cowell's X-Factor Will Overtake Idol
Judges for the new X Factor series 4 (L-R) Brian Friedman, Dannii Minogue, Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell wave to the crowd at Arsenal Emirates Stadium on June 9, 2007 in London, England.   (Getty Images)

With Simon Cowell set to depart American Idol at the end of this season, the big question becomes: Did he make the right choice? Yes, and not just because Cowell’s judgments are notoriously “cold, unsentimental, and usually correct,” Tom Ewing writes for New York. Cowell’s new venture, a US version of his UK hit The X Factor, has a lot going for it that could catapult it ahead of Idol:

  • More variety: X Factor includes older singers and groups, which could make for far more interesting back stories.
  • Better format: Each judge mentors a group of singers, which adds a second layer of fierce competition.
  • Voting: The public vote still determines the bottom two, but the judges make the final decision—meaning “desperate, compelling performances” from contestants struggling to stay afloat.
  • Precedent: In the UK, X Factor quickly overtook Pop Idol in a parallel situation—although Cowell faces bigger challenges here, where American Idol is more entrenched.
(More Simon Cowell stories.)

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