If there's one thing "X-Factor" wants you to know about "X-Factor" it is that it is the television event of the century. The show premiered with a "special preview" last week that had all the subtlety of a Michael Bay film, complete with a stentorian announcer and what sounded like "Carmina Burana" playing behind footage of people auditioning for a reality show.
This bombast is certainly one way to differentiate it from "American Idol," because from where we sit, there's not much else separating Simon Cowell's old show from his new one. (Except the ratings! Heyo!)
Let's count down the standards, shall we?
Talented contestant with a sob story: CHECK
We don't want to make fun of Chris Rene, or minimize what he's gone through. He's a likable guy, and his original song was pretty good, if a little Bruno Mars-y. But the soundtrack underlining Chris's tale was so over-the-top it's hard not to feel like "X-Factor" is trying to play you like a fiddle.
A complete non-entity as a host: CHECK!
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This article in the Hollywood Reporter purports to give us the inside story on host Steve Jones. That is a fallacy. There is no "inside story" on Steve Jones because the man has no insides. He has all the screen presence of a hologram.
Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and some other people as judges: CHECK!
Cowell is Cowell, and his schtick hasn't really worn thin yet. Paula is as loopy as always. New guy L.A. Reed was fine, but hasn't made enough of an impression to characterize him as anything other than "Not Randy" yet. Nicole Scherzinger at least doesn't give off an "Idol" vibe, but that's because she gives off a "Sing-Off" vibe!
Ritual humiliation of untalented people: CHECK!
Yes, we know these people probably know what they are getting into. But that doesn't make it any more fun to watch them.
In all fairness, though, there is at least one difference" "X-Factor" has old people! Or, well, 42-year-olds, who it turns out haven't actually withered up and died after their 30th birthday.
Yup, that's definitely not an audition we could have seen on "Idol."