If anyone has mastered the art of calculated frank talk, it’s X Factor impresario Simon Cowell. In a conference call promoting the new show yesterday, he had backhanded compliments for everyone (except L.A. Reid). He spoke to Paula Abdul‘s passion for contestants and its authenticity, saying that “she’s still prepared to argue” when the cameras are off—and then compared their reunion to “getting your old dog back from the pound.” As for Nicole Scherzinger, he said she “was [odd] in a fantastically self-centered way and she wasn’t even aware of it,” and then observed that “In every city she changes her accent.” They’re certain to react—and that’s the point. That drama is just as much part of the plot of The X Factor as the actual competition, and we kind of love it. (You can tell because we’re taking Cowell’s bait and writing about his comments. You’re welcome for the free press!)
Cowell also found a way to distinguish his new show not only from American Idol but also last year’s new challenger The Voice. He did Adam Levine one better by doubling down on the commitment to backstory and to learning about the competitors (which Idol does not do)—and then criticizes The Voice for not being good enough at it! If that wasn’t enough, he also gave his Top Five Least Favorite Audition Songs:
He professes to love “Ordinary People” but strongly dislike “At Last” and “Unchained Melody.” So auditioners would do well to avoid super-slow love ballads entirely.
Simon Cowell: Don’t Sing These Five Songs [Billboard]
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