Pussycat Doll and former Dancing With the Stars star Nicole Scherzinger has been hired as the host, Cheryl Cole and Antonio 'L.A.' Reid have been named as judges, and now Paula Abdul has officially joined the judges' panel of The X Factor.
Basically, Simon Cowell has created a brand new version of American Idol, and he's cherry-picking the elements that worked best from his rival Simon Fuller's show.
Which, of course, includes the is-she-high-or-isn't-she Ms. Abdul.
Back in 2005, Cowell was hauled into court by longtime friend and business partner Simon Fuller, who claimed Cowell's British X Factor creation was a total ripoff of Fuller's American Idol and its British predecessor Pop Idol. At the time, Fuller sued Cowell for copyright infringement, while Cowell responded that the only thing the two shows had in common was himself.
Well, and the fact that it's a singing competition. That starts with regional auditions. And has a judges' panel. With live elimination rounds. But yeah, totally different.
Cowell's massive popularity on the U.S. version of Idol led to some enormously lucrative deals being struck for all sides. In 2005, the lawsuit reached a settlement that included Cowell receiving a larger stake in Idol and Fuller taking some shares of X Factor. Not only that, but in exchange for Cowell continuing with American Idol, Pop Idol was pulled off the air in the U.K., leaving X Factor to rake in all the viewers.
There was a catch, though: Cowell had to agree to postpone his plan of launching X Factor in the U.S.
Cowell was raking in millions in his role as Idol judge, but it's clear he wants to be the guy in charge. After years of sitting back in the judges' chair, Cowell finally has the chance to execute on his plan to create the world's most popular singing competition.
We all love to make fun of Paula, but if you think about it, it's a pretty big honor that Cowell wanted her on board so badly. He knows she makes good television, and he's hoping their eight seasons of banter on Idol will help convince us to tune in to X Factor.
No wonder her contract negotiations took a while. If I were Paula, I'd be asking for the big bucks too.
It will be interesting to see how X Factor does in comparison to Idol, and what sort of rivalry it might re-stir between Cowell and Fuller. Of course, in this game, they're ALL winners money-wise—including their shared network, Fox.
Will you be watching X Factor? Or are you overdosed on singing competition shows lately?
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