'X Factor' Gears Up For Series Premiere

September 21, 2011 By:
'X Factor' Gears Up For Series Premiere

X-Factor, better known as the "other American Idol show", will have its premiere Wednesday night on Fox. Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell will rekindle their weird friendship, and L.A. Reid will judge alongside ex Pussycat Doll, Nicole Sherzinger.

So in a nutshell, the show mentors some people who want to be famous, and then whoever wins gets a bunch of money and a recording contract with Syco/Sony Music. How is this different from Idol? Well, the prize is $5 million—five times as much as the American Idol prize. Oh, okay. I get it now.

Abdul says the performances are "Grammy-caliber." Does that mean someone's going to be rapping while half the song is bleeped out by censors? Or is someone going to announce their pregnancy during a performance?

Reid says the performances are a must-see:

"When you get a 5,000-person standing ovation and you get Simon off his ass, you know you've done something special," Reid says.

And how does Cowell feel about all the hard work he's put into this show?

"I'm actually having a good time! It's more fun that I thought."

The show had auditions in Newak, Dallas and Los Angeles. One of the performers was a child rapper that would not let up on Cowell during the auditions:

"He absolutely chewed me apart. But I quite liked it."

Okay, now that I gotta see.

It's not totally out of line to say this show is basically an Idol rip-off. Simon Fuller, Cowell's archnemises, oversees American Idol. Cowell's name was attached to the show, sure, but he had no real stake in the show or its artists. So after England's version of American Idol was cancelled, Cowell decided to make his own talent competition show, hence the birth of X-Factor.

It differs from Idol in that the judges will actually mentor a category of contestant: Males younger than 30; females younger than 30; groups; and 30s and older. So basically, the judges are competing with each other as much as the contestants.

So it's like 'The Voice', then?

Yeah, you got me.

Who knows how the X-Factor will fare in the ratings game. Right now, American Idol leads in the talent reality show category, with a 20 million audience. The Voice brings in 12-14 million regularly. If anything, a handful of people will tune in to see Simon and Paula's creepy flirting. Seriously, it's like watching your parents make out.

The series premiere of X Factor airs Wednesday at 8/7 C on FOX.