Why I'm now officially excited to watch 'The X Factor'

Before this morning’s X Factor press session for the Television Critics Association in L.A., my enthusiasm for this competition show was mild to nil. Another competition-show import, more snark from Simon Cowell, more ditziness from Paula Abdul. Big shrug. But the lively, goofy press conference made me think this could be the one of the best, messiest, most controversial Age of Narcissism star-making shows we’ll see this fall.

Why? Here’s why:

Simon Is, If Anything, More Arrogant Than Ever In that rabid-cat-purring-in-a-V-neck-sweater sort of way, you know. From his opening greeting to the cynical press corps — “I don’t hear the applause” — to his constant interruptions and corrections of panelist-judges Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, and L.A. Reid, Cowell is in fine form. Plus, he’s intimidated by the contestants on this show! He whined that the 14-and-unders who’ve auditioned so far have been “far more lippy” than the older contenders, that some of the kids “traumatized him.”

Paula Is More Unsteady Than Lindsay Lohan In Spike Heels In A Dark Nightclub Abdul was asked about the difference between Idol and X Factor; she said, “I sit differently.” Oooookay… A bit later, she did one of her swerves into unexpected sharpness, remarking of her reunion with Simon, “It’s nice to be back in a demented relationship.”

Scherzinger Is More Irritating Than A Family Guy Dream Sequence Speaking in an affected whisper, the former Pussycat Doll/Sing-Off judge is the very embodiment of Unearned Entitlement, murmuring on and on about how she was “brought to tears” by some of the auditions and that she even “cried for days” when she was offered the job as judge. The immortal description of Clive James re Liza Minnelli holds true of Scherzinger: “She can’t even descend a staircase with sincerity.”

The Prizes For The Winner Is Kind Of Insane Cowell said the winner is “guaranteed $5 million” plus a star spot in a commercial to air during the Super Bowl.

Host Steve Jones Is Aggressively Insufferable Jones’ brief introduction of the panel, full of smooth Welsh-accented smarm, suggested he thinks he’s a lot funnier than he is, and that he may prove a deserved target for Simon’s sarcasm in the grand tradition of the old Simon-Seacrest simmer-feud. Except that Ryan Seacrest comes across as a nice guy. Me, I sort of wish it was the old Sex Pistol Steve Jones who was hosting instead of this one. Or Brian Dunkleman. But this Jones will provide much amusement for sheer foolish overconfidence.

Count me in for The X Factor. Maybe even the two-and-a-half-hour Oct. 25 live show. Maybe.

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (58 total) Add your comment
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  • entitled

    unearned entitlement – same comment you had for christina on “the voice”. seems you can’t handle strong sexy women like nicole & xtina.

    • Larinda

      Ken Tucker…


      • CC


        See how easy that can work for just about ANYBODY, L?

      • CC Sucks

        Larinda’s was better. You’re an unfunny loser CC

      • Squishmar

        To CC Sucks: Don’t you mean….?





        Gee, CC, you’re right. That *can* work for just about anybody!

    • Justin P

      X tine is NOT sexy. Not at all.

      • ben

        shes a try-hard

      • Carlos

        Hi Bob,I am really glad we could serve you for the time that we did. Business just sipmly wasn’t sustainable for us, and the new owners are well suited for the location. We wish the new owners well, and thank you so much for your patronage.Brian

    • !

      This will be a Yawnfest!

    • HELA

      xtina at least is talented and can SING – what can scherzinger do – what kind of big career has she had? at least The voice put together an Alist panel of coaches that are hit makers- what does idol have? simon? abdul who had hits 20 years ago and can’t really sing; scherzinger? and reid? – and i would’ve liked to have seen the male/female host as that would have been another distinguishing factor for the voice

      • Squishmar

        Nicole Scherzinger can sing incredibly well. Youtube her Hollywood Bowl performance as Maureen in “Rent.” Watch the duet “Take Me or Leave Me” and come back and tell me she can’t sing. Or watch “Over the Moon” from that same show and tell me she can’t ACT and sing. Just because you think you know her capabilities because of what you’ve heard about her or how she looks doesn’t mean that you do.

    • Philippe

      I’m not surprised that Paula is neivalg. I thought it was poor judgement to have her as a judge in the first place how do you distinguish Xfactor from Idol if half the judging panel is the same as the original and they’re still doing they’re same schtick? I might give the show a second chance (I gave up on it pretty early) if the new judging/hosting choices are interesting. But I think there’s a glut in the talent show market right now, and Simon just might have to accept that there’s no room for X-Factor in North America right now. Time will tell.

  • Anne

    Wish they stuck with Cheryl Cole. Nicole Scherzinger was awful to watch on The Sing Off (thankfully there are two other good judges). Based on X-Factor footage with Cole, I’m not quite sure what the problem was.

  • Skye

    Who cares what Tucker thinks? He’s the lone dolt that bagged on The Voice and that show turned out great.

    • AK

      Because anyone who has a minority opinion is a dolt?

      • Larinda


      • Skye

        Yep. Especially when you read his grumpy-old-man complaints.

      • Auth

        Lil Wayne, Carlos Santana (on guitar), Akon, T-Pain, LL Cool J, Will.i.am, Snoop Dogg, Nipsey Hussle, Busta Rhymes, Swizz Beatz, Iyaz, Mann, Kanye West.

    • Nozomi

      @dadanknessDude she’s way better then any of those annawbe analysts who spread there garbage opinion on ESPN seriously her and Colin are like the only two likable personalities on that network And who cares if she flip flops on her own opinion that’s why her own opinion obviously

  • nickp91

    Simon Cowell hopeful ‘X Factor’ will be America’s pick

    • Michael

      Thanks Nik, very astute.

  • asher

    Hilarious Ken, thanks for the rundown. I am at least interested enough to watch the premiere.

  • Fergie

    Shame about Cheryl, i cant stand Nicole.

  • rick

    Stop talking about Xtina. Her album flopped, the only reason why her movie burlesque wasnt a 100 % flop was because of Cher, she sucked at the Super bowl, tripped at the Grammy’s and was irrelevant in the Voice. Sorry. and I expect Xtina fans bashing me telling me how im a hateful troll, and how my jealousy is amazing….. let the fireworks begin

  • Marshal

    Brian Dunkleman reference…nice

  • hoganbcmj

    “Unearned entitlement” is redundant.
    I think the very meaning of “entitled” infers that it’s unearned.

    • Brad Adien

      You need a dictionary.

    • Llo

      Hmm — no, it really doesn’t (and it would imply it not infer it if it did).

    • Jared

      Wrong. A person can be entitled to a promotion after years of hard work. Doesn’t mean it’s unearned.

      • amyc

        I disagree with your example. I think “entitled to a promotion” is a figure of speech. A boss doesn’t have to give an employee a promotion, no matter how hard or how many years they’ve worked.

      • Jared

        I buy 5 sandwiches at Subway and I’m entitled to a 6th for free. I earned it.

      • Squishmar

        Now *that’s* funny! (@Jared)

      • Sanny

        I lately arevird throughout your post and are currently analyzing along. I need to talk my appreciation of your creating ability and capability to help to make target audience research through the use of the commencing to the end. I must study more recent articles and also to write about my ideas along with you.

  • D

    I have ZERO interest in this show. I was thrilled when Paula got the boot from Idol. She’s a total ditz and it’s just irritating to watch her and Simon make it all about THEM. They are insufferable, and it sounds like they’ve added a couple more irritants to the panel. Two thumbs all the way down! I will not watch this show.

    • Squishmar

      God forbid you watch it and *then* make up your mind. So much easier to pre-judge and pretend to know all about it.

      • Selana

        its btteer she goes its btteer she goes home.. now i know no one wants to hear that, but think of how much btteer she’ll be when shes older, and her vocal cords have time to mature  man shes gonna kick the worlds ass . much love sweety +1Was this answer helpful?

    • ain

      She has a biuateful She has a biuateful and powerful voice, and could improve much more with some breathing techniques would gain even more power.If she can handle more voice would win power.She is biuateful and very good singer for her age 0Was this answer helpful?

    • Mileny

      The album in general is rellay cool. But it lacks sumn, some songs ain’t got nothing to do with main production in her album PShe mustn’t have included Amen, She will be love, the stupid duet with the crippled of Sting He didn’t add anything cool to her album. The song Try with me is kinda unappealing She has everything to be a Beyonce but She’s missing something cos the her album has potential or maybe her label isn’t backing her up like They should

  • dude

    WHY do people watch crap????

  • Jared

    I thought Cheryl Cole was going to be a judge on the show? Nicole was an appallingly bad judge on The Sing-Off.

    • Adhe

      awww what a fun race! I loved my experience in the rock and roll half in phlliy last year it was also my first ever expo and my first ever MEDAL so I completely understand the excitement, I was incredibly geeked out over mine!!Great job on the race though, what an awesome time! The race that I referred to, they had over 20,000 runners and it was INSANE at the beginning, but the excitement in the audience was palpable and I really enjoyed the experience!have a great day!

  • Leon

    Paula was making a joke. Nicole is still trying to come into her own X Factor will be different and she’s working with a better panel. LA is definitely saving for the live shows his reputation is already being shaped from people her were there. X Factor will be amazing and Fox is setting a new standard by having a new show on during the holidays

  • Philly

    Paula and Simon are WINNERS….I don’t notice your name on broadway..D. Idol made a BIG mistake…..Whos sorry now???

  • Diana

    No comment on LA Reid?? Not that I care what Ken thought about LA (I think he’s cool guy), I am just curious about the omission.

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