I HAVE BEEN TO X FACTOR
• There are a lot of reality singing competitions on TV now, but if you have to choose just one for all your singing competition needs, after nearly a decade of covering American Idol, I am prepared to say X Factor is currently the one to go with.
• It is just a funner fresher more contemporary show than the others. Everyone in the top 12 sounds like they are singing in styles which could be on today’s charts rather than just shrieking Whitney Houston covers.
• There is a reason why an entire genre was formed in imitation of Simon Cowell. He is just the best at this. He has strong opinions, he states them with razor precision, without apology. It sounds easy, but no one else can do it nearly as well as he can. In fact, no one else really manages to do it at all.
• In LA Reid, Cowell has his first US opponent on the judging panel who in both experience and confidence, can hold his own against
• There are those who say the Cowell led age of meanness is over, that we are entering a new era where people want “nurturing” and “supportive” in their entertainment. That thought is clearly abhorrent.
• Why in these terrible times do we need a TV singing competition? Why do we need football? Why do we need to watch a bunch of guys in pajamas try to hit a ball with a stick? Reality singing is the most noble gladiatorial competition of our culture, with people fighting to the death not with rubber balls, but with song. Why does that upset you so much? We need competitive singing now more than ever.
• My top Three: Lakoda Rayne. InTENsity. Marcus Canty.
• When I interviewed Lakoda Rayne tonight and suggested the tall one who answered all the questions was their leader, they became very nervous and uncomfortable. The group dynamics are still fragile, clearly. No doubt that is what gives them their power.
• That said, in all the foreign X Factors, a group has only won once. And that was in Spain, which perhaps doesn’t even translate.
• I asked Astro who he has become friends with, and he was very affirmative that “I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to win.” When pressed, he would not budge from that position. The lad will go far.
• X Factor films on the same stage as American Idol, but whereas the Idoldome stage faces south (if you are standing on the stage looking straight ahead) The X Factor stage is north facing. I’m sure there is huge significance in that. I wish someone would tell me what it is.
•The Idol stage is “bandstand” concert-like of stage, built around a space for a singer to stand in front of a live band. That in itself was somewhat revolutionary when the set debuted in 2000 in the UK. Variety sets before that had been “glossy stage” type…looking very much like a theater stage. The X Factor set is minimalist to look at on its own, but is almost pure video screen, with monitors being the only thing really on the stage. These may be the most intricate video displays ever built. Over 1.8 million pixels are utilized in powering the X Factor stage. The floor and overhang are comprised of over 900 separate sticks of individual video points tied together in rows. The central and flanking displays each are in fact hundreds of small monitors tied together. Over 40,000 individual cable connections are required to link the entire system. Think of that next time you are scoffing at this show.