Monday, October 10, 2011

'The X Factor' ignites a new British/American war

Simon Cowell has finally brought his long running British reality hit "The X Factor" to the States, unfortunately all the talent was left in the U.K.

In a fun twist of fate, both versions of the show are airing concurrently with the Brits two weeks ahead of the yanks.

"X Factor U.K." just had its first week of live shows, while American "X Factor" is heading to judge's houses.

In a head to head comparison of judges, hosts and contestants the results are clear, this time the British are winning.


"X Factor U.K." went through a complete judging overhaul with Louis Walsh as the only returning judge. For most shows this would be disastrous, however, the change has breathed new life into the competition.

Pop stars Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Kelly Rowland bring actual credentials to a singing competition (something very rare) and genuinely care about the singers they mentor. They actually give relevant criticism that is helpful to the contestants and have a fun chemistry with each other. If you ignore the increasingly useless Louis, they're the best judging panel on TV.

At the other end of the spectrum is the "X Factor U.S." judges who, besides Simon, have not been very impressive so far. Paula is her usual ridiculous self, Nicole Scherzinger has lost any goodwill she built up on "The Sing Off," can't seem to say anything negative and cries at the drop of a dime, while L.A. Reid is constantly competing wit Simon to be the alpha male.

In the middle of all this the judges have forgotten that the contestants are the stars and constantly steal the spotlight.

Advantage U.K.


This one isn't even close as the stiff and forced "X Factor U.S." Steve Jones can't touch the James Bond swagger of the U.K.'s Dermot O'Leary. Like Ryan Seacrest, Dermot is great at comforting contestants when they falter. He lets them cry it out, hugs them and lets them know it will be OK. To be fair, this is Jones' first season, so hopefully he'll improve, but right now Dermot is schooling him.

Advantage U.K.


Until the finals of boot camp the American singers weren't very impressive, meanwhile the U.K. singers were spectacular from day one. Several immensely talented people were cut at judge's houses. Right now on "X Factor U.S." it's clear who the front runners are and short of a miracle they'll all make it to the live shows.

Misha Bryan took "Rolling in the Deep" and did the impossible by making it completely original and a new song.

The only American singer who approached that level of talent was young Rachel Crowe's rendition of "If I Were A Boy."

It's close but advantage U.K.

Since the British version is clearly better and more popular Simon should consider a crossover episode where the contestants visit each other's shows. Imagine the publicity and ratings that would generate.

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