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.