Fox preview for ‘The X Factor’ disappoints

Viewers watching the Fox telecast of the MLB All-Star Game just got their first glimpse at the network’s highly anticipated fall series “The X Factor,” so it feels appropriate to borrow some baseball terminology to describe this marketing effort.

Swing and a miss!

This was Fox’s first chance to set expectations for “Factor” being something worthy of the hype and instead this “world premiere preview” comes off as little more than a pale imitation of the series it really needs to distinguish itself from, “American Idol.” There’s nothing in the 2:30 clip that generates any real excitement.

Sure, it’s a cute comedic conceit to have the clip seem like “Factor” will present a kindler, gentler Simon Cowell, who is seen in its opening moments lavishing a mediocre singer with the same generous platitudes the judge he’s reuniting with here, Paula Abdul, would bestow. “I love your spirit,” he tells a cute kiddie belting out “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” in an audition.

But then Cowell is seen waking up and reflecting on the fact he’s just had a nightmare; cue guitar riffs from “Live and Let Die” and we are reassured he’s the same old evil Cowell, who is then seen ripping into contestant after contestant with the same demonic zeal that made him famous on “Idol.”

The problem is it’s the SAME demonic zeal–there is nothing on display in this clip that dissuades the notion that “Factor” is just transplanting Cowell and Abdul into a clone of the same show they left. And new judges Nicole Scherzinger and Antonio “LA” Reid” barely register. The Pepsi can on their table seems more expressive than any of the four of them.

Does Fox just see “Factor” as something to tide over “Idol” fans until January? If this clip is truly representative of what’s to come, there’s not much reason to be excited for Cowell’s return in September.

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