Big, brash and confident as ever, Simon Cowell said that his upcoming show “The X Factor” would thrash the competition on US television and topple “American Idol” as the nation’s most-watched show.
When asked whether Cowell, both executive producer and acid-tongued judge on the US version of “X Factor”, thought the show would beat “Idol” in the TV ratings, he said. “If I didn’t think we could I wouldn’t do it and it’s not just ‘Idol’, it’s any show. We don’t enter something for the silver medal. You do it because you want to be number one, and for the next few months we are going to throw everything at this to try and make it the best show on TV.”
“X Factor” marks the return of the abrasive but popular Cowell to US television after quitting “American Idol” in 2010 following 10 years in the judges’ seat, and reunites him with his old “Idol” sparring partner Paula Abdul. When asked how it felt to be working again with Cowell, Abdul told reporters, “It’s nice to be back in a demented relationship. It’s like home.” “I think its more like The Exorcist 2,” retorted Cowell.
“X Factor” welcomes contestants 13 years-old and up, as well as singing groups. It turns the judges into competing mentors and has contestants auditioning before vast stadium audiences. “We will show the good bits, the bad bits, the ugly bits and there are a lot of ugly bits,” Cowell said.
The revamped “American Idol”, with new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, increased audiences last season with a softer and kinder attitude towards its aspiring young stars, Cowell has clearly abandoned none of the sarcasm and biting wit that helped make him a star on US TV. But he confessed that he had met his match in some of the younger contestants auditioning for a spot on the show. “We have had to say to some of the 14-year-olds ‘please be kind to me’. I was quite traumatised after some of the auditions.” Cowell said that one young rapper “absolutely chewed me apart. But I quite like that”.
“The X Factor” arrives on Fox on September 21 with a two-hour premiere, and ends with a two-part finale on Dec 21 and 22, where a winner will be chosen through public vote and will scoop up a $5 million cash prize, as well as a recording contract with Cowell’s Sony Music-owned record label SyCo.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2011.
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