Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: Simon Cowell (1-3 of 3)

'X Factor': Britney brings the joy and the pain

If, as now seems the common wisdom, music competition shows are more about the judges than the contestants, The X Factor could hardly have done better in enlisting Britney Spears as a new arbiter of who can cram the most notes into a musical phrase. Spears embodies as much of that indefinable quality that lifts a singer into super-duper-stardom, plus… well, she’s Britney, which means she brings to any professional endeavor that mixture of sweetness, shrewdness, nervous energy, unpretentiousness, and, occasionally, defiance that only finds its full flower when she’s trying most earnestly to be a surrogate for the masses. Which is what she managed to do on her X Factor debut, even while she was being treated like pop royalty. READ FULL STORY

Why hiring Howard Stern for 'America's Got Talent' is the best decision NBC has made in years

NBC has finally done something right: In hiring Howard Stern to be a judge on America’s Got Talent, the network succeeds on a number of levels. Let’s count ‘em:

1. People like me will start watching America’s Got Talent. I, like millions of Americans, have no use for a talent show that tells me we have talent in this country. Who cares about its endless parade of cute tykes and silly dancers and, as Stern put it on his radio show, “Frank Sinatra impersonators”? But with Stern as a judge, I and many others will give this show another shot, because he’s bound to add a lot of sharp humor and, I’m wagering, a great deal of acute critical observation along with his trademark sarcasm.  READ FULL STORY

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: READ FULL STORY

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