American Idol vs. X Factor USA – The British Invasion!
The X Factor USA is set to topple American Idol from its throne, and it’s basically all down to us…
For the past ten years, American Idol has reigned supreme as the King of US TV, holding the #1 spot for ratings for a record six consecutive years, making it the most popular American show ever. However, all of that is set to change with the imminent arrival of the seemingly unstoppable ‘X Factor’ juggernaut franchise.
That is not to say that ‘American Idol’ won’t put up one hell of a fight however, holding a special place in many American’s hearts and even with network rivals accepting that it is ‘the most impactful show in the history of television.’
The legendary show is also responsible for moulding the careers of several internationally renowned stars, such as Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks and Kris Allen. Furthermore, many of the show’s runners up, such as Jennifer Hudson, have also become highly successful and have helped to contribute to combined ‘American Idol’ alumni record sales of over 50million albums and 60million singles.
Despite such unprecedented success, the show has recently come under heavy scrutiny, with many of its critics commenting on its tired and outdated format, which currently sees a strict age limit of contestants from 15-28 years of age and follows a highly repetitive formula series on series. In addition, the key judging panel has also faced difficulty in the past few years. Initially starring Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, the judging panel was joined on the 8th cycle by Kara DioGuardi.
However, soon after the conclusion of this series, Paula Abdul quit after negotiations over her pay did not fall in her favour, leading to her replacement by chatshow host Ellen DeGeneres. This lineup was to be shortlived, after the resignation of three of the four judges, leaving Randy Jackson as the only remaining judge. Although he has recently been joined by new additions Jennifer Lopez and Steve Tyler, such dramatic shake ups have increased speculation over the future of the show, which is only guaranteed until the conclusion of its current series.
Therefore, the show has every reason to fear the arrival of its biggest competitor, ‘The X Factor USA,’ which could see us Brits leading the ratings on US television. Not only is the show a British concept, but is set to be produced by its star judge Simon Cowell, whose defection from ‘Idol’ would make its downfall even more painful. As well as Cowell, several other well known British names have been linked to the show.
Ex-T4 presenter Steve Jones and current host of the UK show, Dermot O’Leary have been shortlisted as anchors for the US version, competing against more well known American stars such as Extra presenter Mario Lopez, E!‘s Jason Kennedy and actor Zac Efron. Cheryl Cole has also been repeatedly linked to the judging panel, with Simon Cowell telling The New York Post that ‘I think she would be great over here – Cheryl’s a star’ whilst The News of the World has suggested that Cole has signed a £10million contract, although this has yet to be verified. Finally, UK voiceover genius Peter Dickson, famed for his over the top theatrical voice, has been approached to work on the US version in addition to his UK role, confirming that ‘Simon [Cowell] has said he’d like me to be the voice of the American X Factor…I am being flown out to Los Angeles during Oscars week so I can meet the Fox executives to try to sort out a deal.’
Pretty exciting stuff, no? Well that’s not all, Simon Cowell and the Fox network have recently announced via press release that the eventual winner of the ‘X Factor USA’ will receive a $5million recording contract, thought to be the biggest guaranteed prize in the history of television. Talk about raising the stakes…
As well as this huge prize, the show will also differ greatly from ‘Idol’ in all the ways we are used to here in the UK, namely the inclusion of groups, the removal of an upper age limit and the mentoring of acts by a member of the judging panel. However, in contrast to both our version of ‘The X Factor’ and ‘Idol,’ the lower age limit is set to be as low as 12 years of age, which opens the competition up to an unrivalled number of contestants.
Therefore, ‘American Idol’ should really be constantly checking over its shoulder, for ‘The X Factor USA’ will soon be hot on its heals and will most likely swipe its crown without too much difficulty. Promo adverts have already been released to the US, which has begun the snowballing effect of the show’s hype ahead of its autumn premiere, whilst drip feeding announcements such as the prize and the judges, which is due in a couple of week’s time, is keeping its prospective audience thirsty for more. If the standards of our own version are anything to go by, we can’t see how an American audience could possibly resist the pantomime that is ‘The X Factor.’ What we should perhaps mention here, is that ‘American Idol’ was also initially a British concept, created by Simon Fuller, which just goes to prove that us British know how to make a decent talent/entertainment show and that the first phase our impending invasion begun a long time ago…
America, prepare to bow before your new King. All hail ‘The X Factor!’