For those following our coverage of Simon Cowell’s new reality TV project “The
X-Factor” here at Reality Shack you will have read how certain aspects of the UK
show seem very similar to the “Idol” format he’s most famous for. It’s for this
reason that the most interesting thing to happen last week occurred before the
episode had even aired. The night before, the co-creator and owners of “Idol” -
Simon Fuller’s “19TV” began legal proceedings against Simon Cowell, his
production companies “Simco Ltd” and “Syco TV”, and also “Freemantle Media”
who produce and distribute both the “Idol” shows across the world and “The
X-Factor”. They claim that Cowell’s own show is a direct copy of “Idol” right
down to the camera angles and similar music. They even say that most of the
staff who work on the UK version of “Idol” are also working on the new show,
even though their contracts prohibit this.
So the two Simon’s, business rivals with big egos have had a bust up.
That’s what happens in the cut throat media world, right? Well, kinda, but there
may be a bigger picture here that could have a major effect on reality TV as we
know it. Let me explain …. Simon Cowell has been very vocal about the future
of “Idol” lately hinting that he doesn’t know how much longer it will last, yet he
is signed up until 2006. There have also been rumors that the current season of
“American Idol” in production will be Paula Abdul’s last, while in the UK the show
has been rested completely. Simon, with a first look deal at Fox TV under his
belt quite conveniently now has a rival show to offer them, owned completely by
him and with a broader, wider range of contestants and other fresher added
elements. I don’t think anybody could doubt that the best place for “The
X-Factor” is America which has more than its fair share of eccentrics and
downright kooky people. It wouldn’t pay for Fox to air two similar reality shows
at the same time though and Simon could only really appear in one but how
could he get out of “Idol” so that the people at the network make his own show?
Well, oddly enough the only way would be for Simon to go in front of a judge
himself. If a court said that he had breached his “Idol” contract, it would almost
certainly mean paying out a huge settlement but it would effectively make his
contract null and void. Is the jigsaw puzzle starting to piece together now? You
can be sure that as further developments follow they’ll be covered right here.
On to the show itself – the ratings were up for episode two which was the second
of five programs dedicated to the first round auditions. This week it wasn’t
Simon being adored by the ladies, it was judge Louis Walsh. An old
acquaintance called Ed turned up to audition, she knew Louis back in the 80’s.
After failing dismally Simon persuaded her that Louis would take her out to
dinner the following night. While the other judges took this offer as a light
hearted joke Ed actually turned up the following night along with her dog.
Viewers were treated to clips of Louis hiding in Sharon Osbourne’s dressing room
and Simon and his minder pursuing him throughout the building until he was
given the slip.
Besides the romance there was the usual groups of people present to sing -
some good, some terrible. Two twins called “Sistermatic” failed to impress the
judges, Simon said they looked like something out of “I dream of Jeanie”. A
postman also failed to make any kind of impressive delivery, and a woman who
sung in multiple different voices was told she needed an exorcist more than a
judge. An enthusiastic Christian boy sang a song about how Jesus loves you, but
Simon, Sharon and Louis hated him. A girl called Adele arrived as part of a
group but on rejecting them the judges asked her to leave her group and
audition as a solo singer. Expecting this to be a hard choice she was asked to
come back later, but it took her just five minutes to part ways with her friends.
There was more luck for the senior citizens this week who probably came more
to just be seen on TV and get in out of the cold than win a recording contract. A
lady of sixty-eight years old, Tessa, who liked figure skating and marathon
running in her spare time made the cut. The judges thought she looked a lot
younger than she really was. Probably the most entertaining of all was Frank.
The old man showed the judges how he could groove and move as he danced
and sang better than most of the “cool” teenagers who auditioned for the show.
If there’s one thing that does really make “The X-Factor” different from “Idol” it’s
that the most important aspect of the show has shifted from actual singing talent
to sheer entertainment value. The point is illustrated by a “Jerry Springer”
element being incorporated into the show this week as two people amongst the
auditionees were shown fighting. A girl called Lucy Jane who was rejected by
the judges earlier got bitter about it and stayed around to tell everyone how
talented she was and that she would be back. One of the other contestants
mothers got into an argument with her reminding her that she might need some
actual talent to have a chance at actually winning. If this is only week two then
I dread to think what might happen before the finale at Christmas! Until next
Don’t miss “The X-Factor” show updates and episode recaps each week here at
Reality Shack and check out the shows official website at www.xfactor.tv for
video clips, competitions and the latest news.
You can contact Luke with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.