So what exactly is “The X Factor”? And how is it different than “American Idol”?
In all honesty, they aren’t that different. In fact, in England, “Factor” replaced “Pop Idol,” which was the precursor to “American Idol.” The key difference is that in the semifinal round, the judges (one of whom is Simon) mentor the contestants. So it almost becomes a competition between the judges as well as one between the contestants. The most famous “Factor” alum in the US is Leona Lewis.
So why would Simon leave “Idol” for “Factor”? Simple. Simon makes a killing from “Idol” (more than $30 million according to reports), but because he created and owns “Factor,” he would make even more. You may recall that Simon almost left “Factor” once before when “Idol” creator Simon Fuller sued him because he felt “Factor” was an infringement on the “Idol” copyright. That was settled out of court when Simon Cowell signed his new “Idol” deal.
No doubt the speculation will begin that FOX plans to use “Factor” as a replacement for “Idol” once Simon leaves. But reports have FOX trying to sign a deal to keep “Idol” on the air for three more years—even without Simon.
I can’t help but wonder if FOX will end up reconsidering once they experience a season without Simon…