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Why The X-Factor Got Xed

The cancellation of Simon Cowells X-Factor came as no surprise to me. I knew it wasnt a winner almost from the first few episodes of Season One.

When American Idol first came on the scene (now 13 years ago), it was Cowell of course who really propelled the show into the pop culture consciousness. We Americans may prefer our own home-grown celebrities, but it was hard not to marvel at Cowells brutish British take downs of the desperate and delusional. In fact, while he was on the show, the initial auditions we're a key attraction the parade of untalented but courageous hopefuls who wound up as fame-seeking fish in Simons barrel.

On Idol, however, Cowell may have been the star of the show, but he was more of the featured guest of the party, rather than the master of ceremonies or the center of power. So he could be as barbaric and barbed as he wanted.

Once he broke away from AI to front his own show, however, that dynamic had to change. He could not be the creator, producer and point man for the show, and just invite people to perform on stage so that he could cut them down to size. When it became his party, he had to work harder to be the gracious host. He had to give up the quality that was his claim to American fame.

The great thing about villains is that they get to say and do the things we are often too nice to attempt. The earlier version of Simon Cowell could visit that vicious territory (and did often) the X-Factor version could not. It was like when the Abominable Snowman has his teeth removed in the TV Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer . Or when Darth Vader becomes a baby in The Phantom Menace .

Sure there we're other reasons the X-Factor tanked overproduction and exaggerated expectations are also at the top of the list. But the end was there at the beginning. The shows title may have been an ironic clue to what Cowell was giving up all along.

Posted in Newspaper Post Date 01/11/2017


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