Welcome to the pre-game show of X Factor USA here at Hey, Don’t Judge Me! We’ve got one week before Season 1 starts, and I thought it would be a good idea to take a peek at the show now so you can be fully prepared when you’re immersed in the awesomeness that is…THE X FACTOR. So pull up a chair, grab a virtual beer, and let’s get ready to rock n roll all night and party every day! Or whatever the heck kind of music they sing on this show. Let’s maybe also get ready to put our drinks in the air! Or ride a cowboy! Or whatever Susan Boyle sings about! WOOT!
WHAT TO EXPECT: How is X Factor different from Simon Cowell’s fading juggernaut, American Idol? Well, for one thing, X Factor has Simon and Paula as judges, bitches. Boo-yah! Ahem.
- The contestants will be separated into four categories: Males 12 – 30, Females 12 – 30, Over 30, and Groups. The fact that anybody over the age of twelve can enter is I’m sure gratifying for the “older” people who fear they’ve missed their shot at stardom, although it seems way too stressful for the youngest singers. Having said that, some of these kids act like they were born with a microphone in their teensy hands — I can barely stand up to say my name and why I joined the gardening club, so there’ll be no judgments from me.
- The contestants audition in front of the judges…and five thousand finicky people in the audience. It’ll be just like the blood-thirsty mobs in the Roman Colosseum. Yay! But no pressure, yo.
- X Factor’s winning prize is a five million dollar record contract. Gulp! So the stakes are gigantulous. Forget what I said — there’s going to be crushing pressure from the moment this baby starts.
- The judges are also mentors to the contestants, up to and including living together, which is hilarious and somewhat creepy. Unlike Idol, where they throw the contestants to the wolves every week, the judges will groom and advise their wards to help them achieve the best possible performance each week. As any AI viewer will tell you, these green singers desperately need help, especially with song choice. “Because it was my grandma’s favourite song before she died” is NOT a proper reason for choosing a song for the semi-finals, ya feel me?
THE JUDGES: Whether it’s American Idol, X Factor, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, or Those Other Shows You Never Got Around to Watching, the talent is all the same, good or bad. It’s the judges and their chemistry with each other that will eventually make you stay or make you go. You don’t want a judge that’s a complete dick (I’m talking to you, Piers Morgan), but you don’t want judges who give the same praise to both the best and worst performances (Hello, JLo). To misquote the inestimable supervillain Syndrome, when everyone’s super…then no one is. I’m especially irked when a so-called nice judge drowns out a judge who’s giving negative, but true, feedback. You had your turn, now back off, lady! I’m curious to see how this panel will do with each other and with the talent. Let’s take a look at our shiny judges one by one.
Simon Cowell: This photo says it all. Simon is a self-absorbed, heartless jerk. And that is why I love him best. He’s brutally honest, perceptive, doesn’t suffer fools gladly, wears t-shirts that are one size too small, and chews on his pen because he can’t smoke during the auditions. Why are you thinking about sex? I’m not thinking about sex. Who said anything about sex? Not me. I don’t always agree with what he says, but I’ll defend to the death his right to say it twice a week on my PVR, preferably while smirking.
Paula Abdul: She’s ditsy, adorkable, the “nice one”, and may or may not have been lubricated throughout her entire run on AI. She’s also an expert at putting Simon in his place, by physical violence if necessary. They obviously have a real friendship, which I find endearing. She doesn’t always make any sense, but I believe her to be sincere, and that’s good enough for me. With four judges I just pray they set time limits on their comments.
Nicole Scherzinger: Let me say up front that I was disappointed Cheryl Cole (from the British X Factor) was chosen as a judge then summarily dropped because of her accent!? Having said that, I hope Nicole wins me over in short order. She’s certainly qualified for this job, having been the lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls and a winning contestant on both Popstars and Dancing With the Stars. Her advice to the contestants should be golden, but we shall see.
L.A. Reid: He’s a music exec, he’s bald, he’s black, he wears hipster glasses, he’s a sharp dresser…but he is NOT Randy Jackson. Go figure. Time will tell if he’s a “for me for you it wasn’t good, dawg” judge or sets himself apart with his real-world-tested critiques. All I know is this dude quit his day job as power broker to the music stars so he could devote himself full time to X Factor, and that’s pretty impressive. Also, I like his name. Rolls off the tongue, that.
Steve Jones: He’s the host. He’s from Wales. He’s hosted or will host roughly 70 bazillion reality shows in his career. He is much taller than my TV host boyfriend Ryan Seacrest, but his hair isn’t as nice. That’s all I know, that’s all I’ve got. Stay tuned.
And there you have it! Journey with me to the strange and exotic land of The X Factor, where fun will be made, gossip will be savored, favorites will be cheered, and hearts will be broken. See you next week!