The persistent rumors that Simon Cowell will jump ship from Idol after the 2010 season hit a fever pitch this week, thanks to a report in the London Times claiming that Cowell is preparing an American version of the hit British talent show series The X Factor. “The X Factor is due to begin filming in Los Angeles in September 2011, to be shown on Fox and presented by Cowell,” the Times reports. Fox is denying official comment, so this latest wrinkle could be nothing more than meaningless buzz. But that hasn’t stopped us from buzzing about it here at EW — because if true, this would be monumental. After all, Cowell’s American Idol contract expires in May, and if the judge does decide to branch out on his own and assert total creative control over an American X-Factor, we have to wonder if [Seacrest voice] “This. Is the End. Of the road” for American Idol.
Superficially, they seem like the same show — Chosen Ones sing, viewers vote — except that in The X Factor, the judges take on more of a mentoring role with the contestants, so it’s almost like a competition among the judges as well. (I’m suddenly hearing Heidi Klum’s voice: “Models, this is a competition for you as well.”) But perhaps the two shows could coexist on Fox, providing the network with a full year of singing-competition material. Though it’s probably also worth mentioning here that The X Factor was the U.K.’s replacement for Pop Idol in 2004.
Here at EW, we’re devout Idol fans, but even we would check out a new competition show from Cowell. What about you, PopWatcher Idol fans? If Cowell does exit American Idol to launch a U.S. X-Factor, should they continue AI or just end it? Would you be interested in a new singing competition with Cowell behind it?