Simon Cowell is arguably the cleverest man in show business. From humble musical roots, working with Sinatta, Zig and Zag and of course Robson and Jerome, he has become the most powerful man in not only the music but all of the entertainment industry.
Somewhere along the way, the music mogul became Mr Saturday Night. First, as a judge on Pop Idol, then on the X Factor and Britains Got Talent.
Mr Cowell came up with the X Factor concept, with slightly enough differences from Pop Idol. But what the hell has he done?
The first audition round began tonight on what is Series 6 (I think) of the show. Instead of a closed room with the judges, this year Mr Cowell and his fellow producers have decided to adopt a ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ style audition process.
The auditionees step out onto a stage in front of a theatre full of people. I liked the lack of use of backing tracks at the auditions, you hear the true voice, as per American Idol and previous years of the show.
While we know that this format has been a success for America and Britain’s Got Talent, it blurs the lines between each programme. Is there any need for both the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent now?
Saturday night entertainment in the British Isles has been dominated by Simon Cowell and Ant and Dec in the twenty first century.
Britain’s Got Talent allows other special skills or talent to be brought to the public eye other than singing (although a few singers still sneak in). Would dance troops Diversity or Flawless have ever been known without it?
Everyone seems to be able to get their diluted five minutes of fame. Popular culture has become so transient, Warhol’s fifteen minutes have been greatly reduced.
Looking at these shows, the overlaps and similarities are amazing. The colours used on sets, the set design itself, the theme tune, the personalities. The X Factor theme tune is also used on America’s Got Talent. As well as hosting Saturday Night Take Away, Ant and Dec also host Britain’s Got Talent.
It has gone to the stage where the name of the show doesn’t matter. Mr Cowell & Co are selling a Family Entertainment Brand.
The Family Factor must have a hero, our auditionee who lost someone, who overcomes adversity. A good soul, like Danyl Johnson on the new series of X Factor, who is a teacher. To balance the scales we also have those put in place for comic effect: The ones who are really bad but think they’re great.
But this series of The X Factor doesn’t seems to have the extra oddballs we’ve become accustomed to. Having a live audience means not being able to put the truly batty through their paces for our entertainment. The audition part of the series was always quite an enjoyable time but adding a live audience means the producers of the show now have The Fear Factor, afraid to push contestants to the limit. The would only be rediculed if they let the weakest in from of the Maddening Crowd. So instead we get a watered down version, with an occasional giggle. It’s going to take more than that to keep me watching.