Monday, April 25, 2011

Simon Cowell's X Factor tries to silence The Voice

The timing of Simon Cowell announcing his rather lackluster judging panel for the American debut of The X Factor debuting on FOX this fall is convenient. The smug British bastard is a master of timing, publicity and manipulation. While still at the helm of American Idol, he shook things up with the departure of the constantly drunk Paula Abdul and the addition of Ellen Degeneres and that other woman whose name nobody can remember (Karen Dioguardi).

Apparently d Paula Abdul was ditched from Idol a couple years back for no other reason than for her to be a free agent when it came time for Cowell to Americanize The X Factor. But with a judge panel consisting of record producer L.A. Reid, British X Factor  judge Cheryl Cole who is a nobody here in the states and experienced judge and laughingstock Paula Abdul, The X Factor seems rather bland. Where's the gimmick? At least NBC's The Voice has blind auditions and "mentors" (Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera) who area t least recognizable names to the target audience. While I don't expect The Voice to do even remotely well when it premieres tomorrow (Tuesday) at 8 PM C/T on NBC, I don't think the announcement of Cowell's latest batch of judges is going to seal its fate.

Both shows are essentially the same and they both are copies of American Idol which itself is a hyped-up version of Star Search done in the vein of a classy karoake competition. If I want to see people singing along to songs I already know, I'll stroll a few blocks and catch karoake night at the neighborhood bar. But if I want to see carbon copies of singing shows, I'll watch both American Idol and The X Factor because from an outsider's perspective they are both the same and both shows are utter garbage. Hell, even the local county fair has a singing contest and at least there I don't have to witness smug pricks past their prime judging the singing.

If I had a gun to my head and had to choose, I'd say that NBC's The Voice has the edge when it comes to originality but it also has a significant handicap -- it's on NBC. If I had to choose one of the three to watch, I'd put a bullet in my TV and finally admit that TV has run its course as a viable form of entertainment.

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