Simon Cowell, American Idol

Simon Cowell’s The X Factor got its “world premiere sneak peek preview” just before last night’s MLB all-star game. So I guess this thing is really happening! Still hard to believe, considering the glut of singing reality competitions on network TV and the fact that it’s July and since when is Simon Cowell anywhere near TV in JULY? Watch the preview below. Try not to get lost in the pink cable-knit cloud of Simon’s faux-fluffy new image!

As James Hibberd pointed out on Inside TV last night, the promo tries mightily to prove The X Factor will be different from American Idol. But all I got from their playful mocking of a similar show on the same network… was that, as we all suspect anyway, this new show is strikingly similar to American Idol. The preview showed no great singers (that we actually heard, at least), a few catty zingers, a jaunty host exclaiming “This is… !” and exceedingly precious Chevy Volt and Pepsi product placements. Are they fooling anyone? Joke all you want, but it’s still all about the cars and cola. As reader JT put it, “If you squint it looks like American Idol season 8.” It’s sort of like that scene in Love Actually when Elisha Cuthbert and January Jones (!!) are so delighted to hear all of Colin Frissell, God of Sex’s British pronunciations of everyday words like “bottle,” but mere seconds later when he gets to “table,” they’re all dejected. “It’s the same.”

I know X Factor has a different format than Idol, but its success might come down to the basic question: “Do you want to watch American Idol during the fall?” And I’d assume America’s answer is duh, yes. If ABC can do it with Dancing With the Stars, why can’t Fox do it with American Idol and its snooty British cousin? Of course they can. Simon can do whatever he wants. Let him go around ballroomizing things. I’ll watch!

To be honest, the only element of The X Factor that has me excited is the return of Simon to TV. That’s it. Just him. He’s so obnoxious and I’ve always loved it. The carefully edited preview tried to suggest Simon’s mere presence will infuse a rapid-fire bitchery blitz among the other judges, but I won’t believe that until I see it live. Those other three Pepsi drinkers just seem arbitrary at this point, even Paula. I suppose L.A. Reid is the wild card. We can already predict Paula’s antics, and Nicole Scherzinger is just kind of there, off the bench. I’d be willing to stand in front of anyone and say “Slap me as hard as you can if you truly care about what Nicole Scherzinger has to say.” I just need to make sure it’s not one of my MANY INTERNET ENEMIES.

So in the dead of summer, are you into The Simon Show or not? Vote below.

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Episode Recaps

Simon Cowell, American Idol
The X Factor
Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio judge Season 3.
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