Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


'The X Factor': Did your inner 'Idol' fan love it or loathe it?

Posted on

Are you an American Idol fan? Were you tired of having to wait until January to watch the season 11 premiere of Idol? Well, Fox had the answer for you last night: The premiere of The X Factor, a reality competition singing show complete with heart-wrenching stories and a judge’s panel that includes Idol alums Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. (Read our recap here.) Sound familiar? Inevitably, the similarities between Idol and X Factor will lead us to ask the question, which show is better? Of course, it’s far too soon to tell — though last night’s ratings worked in Idol‘s favor — but, at this point, we can compare the two series’ audition process. To make it fair, I made sure to argue the issue with a fellow Idol die-hard, Adam B. Vary, who attempted to convince me that X Factor‘s auditions were enjoyable, despite the schmaltz, the mediocre talent that in no way approached Kelly Clarkson levels of amazingness, and the utter lack of Ryan Seacrest. (Believe me, I’m surprised myself to be writing the last part of that sentence.) Read our exchange below, and let us know in the comments who you agree with!

KATE WARD: I’m a huge fan of Idol and Simon Cowell. Therefore, I was dying to love The X Factor. But, instead, the only letter I was seeing during the first audition episode of the season was Zzzzzzz.  

ADAM B. VARY: Because the first episodes of American Idol are always jam-packed with oodles of excitement? Okay, I will concede that both shows suffer from the same season-premiere padding: Over-blown judge intros; pedantic explanations of the prizes at stake; monotonous helicopter shots of thousands of people packed outside an arena; etc. But some of that was actually necessary for The X Factor’s premiere, since most viewers aren’t familiar with the show’s format, and have no flipping clue who L.A. Reid is. Plus, The X Factor premiere was largely missing two of Idol‘s more obnoxious audition-round features: The cloying following-the-auditioners-home packages, and the WHOOOOOPEEEEEE! I-got-a-golden-ticket running-down-the-street shots. Didn’t miss that at all.

NEXT: Ahhh, Kelly Clarkson!