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All Cowell’s Horses and Men Didn’t Make ‘X’ Pop

People are generally kind of smitten with Simon Cowell — good-looking, imperious, British, rich — so they don’t like stating the obvious about him if it’s negative.

But the shakeup on “The X Factor” makes clear what was pretty much apparent from the start: The XFACTOR_S1_CAST_jwFformer “American Idol” judge gave America a new series that was, in fact, little more than “American Idol 2.0,” and it was greeted with polite applause, but mostly a collective yawn.

Yes, the series performed modestly well through the fall. But having it around might have helped take some of the steam out of “Idol” since its return. And the boneheaded move of reuniting Cowell with Paula Abdul — which was treated as a coup at the time — merely gave the whole enterprise an extra-stale smell once viewers got an actually whiff of it.

Cowell boasted before the show went on (he is, after all, a showman) about how great-looking the cast was. But gorgeous as she is, Nicole Scherzinger came off as a tall-a Paula, and host Steve Jones an even more vanilla, unseasoned Seacrest.

Adding new members will offer the chance to generate interest and speculation for the show’s return, which has proven to be effective for the genre in the past.

With the benefit of hindsight, though, “X Factor” appears to have been a miscalculation on multiple levels. Which only goes to show that no matter how beautiful the talent is, if the concept is hollow, you’re just putting lipstick on a pig.


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