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
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)
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(Newser) – 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.

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