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‘X Factor’ gives press the first episode

simon cowell

Fox made the first two hours available for the media a few days ahead of time. I just finished it. There are probably no major surprises per se. We know the format well. There are auditions mixed with a few back stories. The editing is a bit looser than “Idol.” They tend to let singers go significantly longer than on “Idol,” which is a good thing when the singers are good. The cinematography, I think, is sharper and slicker than the work done on “Idol.”

Simon Cowell is engaged, at least, in a way we haven’t seen since the early years of “Idol.” He better be. He’s the creator! It’s comforting to see Paula Abdul and Simon together again. But folks seeking crazy Paula will be disappointed, at least in this first episode.

I really like L.A. Reid. He’s serious, as befits a record executive, but also carries real weight, too, given his pedigree. When he name drops, it’s for real (compared to, say, Randy Jackson.) He can get into the performances, too.

Nicole Scherzinger? Redundant, given Paula’s presence.

And if you like crowd reaction, it’s very much like “America’s Got Talent” on that front.

The usual editing tricks are put into play. The show gives the impression the auditions are all done in front of a live arena audience. But like “America’s Got Talent,” the talent is culled down to just a few for the four judges to see.

Former U.K. “X Factor” judge Cheryl Cole gets introduced like the other judges in the opening hour. She quit or was let go after the Los Angeles auditions, which is not explained. (I’m still not clear what happened there.) She is actually a fairly innocuous presence and her accent didn’t sound too difficult for this American ear to understand.

The first contestant, 13-year-old Rachel Crow, was shown during the eight-minute teaser reel that has already aired so I’ll bring her up by name. (I won’t bring any others by name since you all want to be surprised, right?) Rachel is precocious and cute with a magnetic personality. There’s no doubt she’ll go far in this competition, which is probably why the producers introduces us to her first.

One jarring part of this for “Idol” regulars: the Pepsi-logo-ed cups. This isn’t “American Idol” anymore. “Idol,” in fact, is alluded to but never by name. The show uses background pop music, especially during montages, very much like “America’s Got Talent,” which happens to share an executive producer with… Simon.

About 30 minutes in, there’s a conflict between Reid and Cowell over a “fierce” female singer. She isn’t very likable or warm, which is why Reid didn’t like her Cowell appreciated her ambition. Reid has more of an ear for radio hits. Simon, despite his bluntness, doesn’t have quite the track record of  Reid, who helped build up the careers of Usher, Kanye West and Justin Bieber. Simon’s got Il Divo, Leona Lewis and the Teletubbies. So you be the judge on that.

After showing a handful of auditions in Los Angeles during the first hour with Cole as a judge, the show segues to Seattle, where Scherzinger appears as a new judge.

For reasons, I can’t ascertain, a dude comes up, sings badly and drops his pants to reveal his ding dong. (There better not have been kids in the audience!) Fast forward this bit if you are watching via DVR.

An impressive 20 year old comes on the scene, too, channeling Stevie Wonder. But even better, I could see a winner in a seemingly unassuming 18-year-old gal who has one of the prettiest voices I’ve heard in ages.  She gave me goosebumps! “You have the gift, the soul, the spirit, the swagger, the X Factor,” Reid said. You’ll hear her at about the 9:30 p.m. point. Definitely wait for it!

At the end, we also get to see a trash hauler/former drug addict, who has mad rap/singing skills and a likable humbleness about him that will draw votes. The editors ramp up the histrionics to 11 but again, not a surprise.

If anything, these two hours definitely make me want to watch more!

On TV

“The X Factor,” debuts Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. Fox

29 comments Add your comment

Branch Loveless

September 19th, 2011
12:43 pm

“reveal his ding dong”….really? LOL!

Deirdre

September 19th, 2011
12:51 pm

Interesting. I’m looking forward to this show…we need something to be judgmental about on this blog.

Did Paula and Simon ever hit, poke, prod, or otherwise act like 50 year old teens…cuz I’ll need to ff through that as well.

JTesla

September 19th, 2011
12:59 pm

Thanks Rodney.

Bring back Cheryl Cole!

Harriett

September 19th, 2011
2:28 pm

Thank you, Rodney! I am looking forward to it!

Rickster

September 19th, 2011
2:33 pm

I haven’t heard it referred to as a ‘ding dong’ since that old Cheech & Chong “Blind Melon Chitlin skit.

Rickster

September 19th, 2011
2:41 pm

I prefer Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-a-ling” :-)

Branch Loveless

September 19th, 2011
3:25 pm

Will have to pick up “X-Factor” later. We’re leaving in the morning for the Hoosier state for Papa Loveless’ surgery on Wednesday. By the time I get to check back in there should be some good commentary on the show. That is, if the blog is still here in a week or so!!! ;-)

Woodpappy

September 19th, 2011
3:37 pm

The last time I heard “Ding Dong”, these little people were singing about a witch beinbg dead !

Rickster

September 19th, 2011
3:49 pm

I guess the guy who drops trou wanted to be know for his shortcomings other than his singing. :-)

Best wishes to Papa Loveless!

Sam-A

September 19th, 2011
3:50 pm

Branch: Good luck to Papa – hope all is well, and you’re back with us soon.

Branch Loveless

September 19th, 2011
4:20 pm

Thanks for the well wishes! Papa is in good spirits and is looking forward to getting the surgery done and getting on with things.

Harriett

September 19th, 2011
4:21 pm

My best wishes for successful surgery, Branch. See you when you get back. If not here, then over at the other place, huh?

Harriett

September 19th, 2011
4:52 pm

Time to go. Bye all.

Branch Loveless

September 19th, 2011
4:57 pm

Me gotta go, also. Gotta catch some Z’s before trip.

Have a great week (or so) and I’ll find you when I return to Georgia!

[...] American Idol [...]

Deirdre

September 20th, 2011
7:40 am

Morning!

Read a story in the ajc about a man in Buckhead being bitten by a copperhead. Maggie found a large one by our pool yesterday. Fortunately I have learned to recognize her “snake bark” and got her away from it quickly. Hubby killed it.

To Branch(who probably won’t see it) I wish Papa the best.

Deirdre

September 20th, 2011
7:46 am

Rodney may post this and Neg will definitely post this but I’m not waiting. THIS is why Haley should have won. She’s in New Orleans, she doesn’t start singing until about a minute and 20 seconds into the video. She’s absolutely amazing in this video:

http://www.mjsbigblog.com/haley-reinhart-james-with-irvin-mayfield-in-new-orleans.htm

Harriett

September 20th, 2011
8:17 am

Morning! Thanks for posting, D. Haley rocks!

Deirdre

September 20th, 2011
9:05 am

Did anyone watch The Sing-off last night? I taped it and haven’t seen it yet.

lar

September 20th, 2011
9:19 am

I like that show but was not able to see most of it but what I did see I really liked.

♥ kelly&carriefan ♥

September 20th, 2011
9:50 am

Hi y’all!

Best wishes for Papa Branch.

D, you know, if the snake thing keeps up, maybe Maggie can turn into one of those “search” dogs.

PS. Ding Dongs? Why not Twinkies? :mrgreen:

Deirdre

September 20th, 2011
9:55 am

Good idea, k&cf! Except I’m not sure how many folks actually want to find copperheads.

I’m heading off for much of the day. Are y’all packed and ready for the big move? Remember, if you can’t find us here, we’ll be working on getting the Other Blog in line and up to speed!

Harriett

September 20th, 2011
10:12 am

I am, D. I have been peeking in at the other blog but there is never much commentary there. They better be ready for us!! ;)

Harriett

September 20th, 2011
10:45 am

I just checked out our new home and found Mo over there!

♥ kelly&carriefan ♥

September 20th, 2011
11:07 am

D, if I had a yard, I’d love a dog that would let me know there were copperheads in it! :)

I’m not packed…or ready to go, but I guess I’ll go check it out. :cry:

lar

September 20th, 2011
1:06 pm

When is the move?

G

September 20th, 2011
2:51 pm

Sing-Off was great last night. Refreshing to hear terms such as modulation, dynamics, and intonation used by “judges” in a singing competition.

Harriett

September 20th, 2011
4:57 pm

J

September 21st, 2011
4:30 pm

I was in the audience during the live auditions in NJ and there was some true talent! Look forward to seeing the other auditions.