X-Factor: The new and improved American Idol

By Tarik Hrvo


The leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The fall season is in full bloom, and a broad variety of shows have hit the TV schedule. New shows arriving include Fox’s “Terra Nova,” Showtime’s “Homeland,” and FX’s “American Horror Story.” They have a lot to go up against with the anticipated returns of shows like the AMC’s “ The Walking Dead,” Showtime’s “Dexter,” and ABC’s “Modern Family.” With such a crazy lineup, the show that’s garnered the most attention has been Fox’s  “The X Factor.”

The new show, brought overseas by ex-American Idol judge Simon Cowell, has brought in the most viewers out of any other show this fall. This same show discovered current star Leona Lewis—it started out as a TV show strictly in the UK, and through rising popularity has moved to different countries. Cowell decided to leave American Idol in hopes that The X Factor would match and even surpass the fan base American Idol has created. Luckily, the risky move has paid off for Simon, as The X Factor has flourished in its first month of airing. The show’s latest episode pulled in a whopping 11.7 million viewers!

So what is The X Factor about exactly? Well, like American Idol, it is a singing competition. With a small similarity like that, comes many differences between the two. For starters, the prize is much, much bigger. The X Factor’s winning contestant is awarded a very appealing 5 million dollar prize. To go with this, the winner gets to star in a Pepsi 2012 Super bowl commercial with millions of viewers watching. This puts American Idol’s million dollar prize to shame.

Secondly, there are a much bigger variety of contestants. Almost all are welcome. American Idol comes with a 15-28 age range, while The X Factor is offered to ages 12 and up. On top of that, the show isn’t limited to solo artists as group acts are allowed to try out as well. Thirdly, most of you know that the American Idol auditions are in front of the judges in a private room.

Seems pretty nerve wracking right? Well for The X Factor, the auditions are not only in front of the judges but also in front of a live audience so the pressure is a lot higher. Yikes!

Lastly, the biggest and probably the most important difference is the involvement of the judges. Once the contestants get past the live auditions, they are sent to boot camp, where 36 overall acts are picked and separated into four groups with each judge getting a group to coach. The groups are separated into boys, girls, over 30 years of age, and groups. Overall 12 acts, three from each group, are brought on to the live shows where fans get to vote for their favorite contestants.

With rising ratings to back it up, it seems as if The X Factor is the real deal. Whether or not it outdoes American Idol, it’s definitely a show to watch. Tune in to Fox on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. to see for yourself!