Simon Cowell Returns with 'X Factor': Are You Glad He's Back?

PopNews Wire 2011/09/22 13:02:40
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If you could get past feeling like you were watching an old season of “American Idol,” the series premiere of “The X Factor” was actually pretty good.

From an adorable 13-year-old to a 42-year-old single mom to a talented rapper only 70 days out of rehab, “The X Factor” had more tear-jerker moments than a Lifetime movie. Even the commercials were inspirational.

And Simon Cowell was actually not as mean as we thought he was going to be.

The first hour of the show, at the L.A. auditions, introduced the judging panel: Cowell, his flirting-and-fighting partner Paula Abdul, record executive L.A. Reid and British pop star Cheryl Cole.

But wait a minute: By the second hour of the show, Cole has been fired and replaced at the Seattle auditions with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger!

Of course we heard about this back when it happened in June, but somehow it didn’t sink in that Cole had already taped a few episodes.

Down one Brit, up another: Host Steve Jones gets just enough air time to inform us that the winner of the show will be awarded a $5 million record contract. That’s a lot of money, which is why it seems fitting that the first contestant, 13-year-old Rachel Crow, is broke. Or at least her family is, with six of them packed into a two-bedroom house.

“My family has like no money,” she declares, quite adorably, adding that, “I’m a girl -- I need my own bathroom!”

Not only does this cutie pie have enough personality for 10 contestants, she also does an impressive job on Duffy’s “Mercy.”

“You have everything every artist I’ve ever signed has,” L.A. says. Four yesses -- she’s in!

More unanimous yesses, follow, including for hunky 36-year-old Terrell Carter
and 14-year-old teen heartthrob John Lindahl.

But would Simon Cowell really create his own show without giving us a few people to make fun of? Of course he wouldn’t!

Take 30-year-old hotel performer Siameze Floyd, who wants to be a megastar. Not a superstar, a megastar. Well, he does have some insane dance moves, a resemblance to Prince and a baby blue fishnet top that leaves nothing to the imagination.

“You are talented but you are deluded,” Simon explains, offering up a yes despite L.A.’s firm no. That’s the Simon we were waiting for!

But it gets even weirder. Married couple Venita and Dan are 83 and 70, respectively, and when they stop complaining about the price of a hot dog, they get around to singing “Unchained Melody” -- badly. It’s a no, but everyone appreciates their dream to travel around in their motor home playing at “the most beautiful senior centers.”

If you thought Venita and Dan were bad, you were in for a shock when Linda, a 61-year-old retired court clerk, came on to shriek the lyrics to “I Touch Myself.”

But there is one contestant who was able to successfully deliver the sexy factor. Simone Battle, 21, has two things going for her: She looks good in short shorts, and she’s “fierce.” Simon finds her “annoying” at first, but she wins everyone over with her “fearless” performance -- except L.A.

We guess L.A. was saving his applause for Stacy Francis, a pretty 42-year-old single mom who’s faced some tough times. Her former partner wasn’t supportive of her singing, but she “doesn’t want to die with the music in her.” Powerful stuff, and her gritty performance of “Natural Woman” earns a standing ovation from the judges. In fact, Simon thinks it’s one of the best auditions he’s ever heard.

Things take a major turn for the worse in Seattle, where 43-year-old blogger Geo Godley is “classically trained” -- at taking his clothes off. The carefully placed “X” suggests that Geo took it ALL off, but we find it hard to believe that went down before an audience packed with children and old folks. Nevertheless, the little that he was wearing was enough to literally make Paula sick. She runs out gagging, and her overdone reaction kind of made us gag, too.

Marcus Canty is a little more family-friendly. His mom gave him two years after high school to make it in the music biz -- and at age 20, he’s almost out of time. He blows the judges away with Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish,” and L.A. thinks he’s the next Bobby Brown. Boy band The Anser is also pretty cool, offering an original version of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”

But the real show-stopper is 28-year-old Chris Rene, who hauls trash for a living to make ends meet for his 2-year-old son. He also just got out of rehab, and after struggling with drug and alcohol addiction since age 12, he is 70 days clean.

All we can say is, they saved the best for last. “Young Homie,” Chris’s original hip-hop song about his experience, could be a hit right now. L.A. says Jay-Z and Kanye West would be proud to call him “the truth,” Paula says words can’t articulate her feelings (no big surprise there), Nicole says Chris has “The X-Factor” and Simon says he loves “meeting a star for the first time.” L.A. and Simon make Chris promise to stay straight, and there isn’t a dry eye in the house.

Heart-wrenching stories, a few catty insults, a lot of talent and some serious weirdos. Sound familiar? It should. But we’re still happy Simon Cowell is back.

--Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman, PopNews Wire

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Top Opinion

  • C. C. Rider 2011/09/23 03:19:49
    C. C. Rider
    Love him or leave him that ole boy can really entertain when he wants, and LOVE that Paula is by his side again.......they crack me up when the fight.

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  • TheAsianDiva85 2013/10/15 17:17:10
    Yep,I am because he is a very awesome,handsome and good guy and judge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • metasebia 2011/09/28 13:52:19
    am exited simon cowell back stage am happy
  • football 2011/09/24 18:22:33
    I really don't give a damn.
  • k8elou 2011/09/24 03:03:33
    I was so glad to see him back but after watching an episode last night, was surprised at how much nicer he seemed! Its nice though, because although he wasn't mean and cruel he still gave great feedback and still put in some of his signature sarcastic comments :)
  • Christmas; In Chrome 2011/09/23 21:52:33
    Christmas; In Chrome
    His fat ugly face is as dumb as a butt!
  • Orsino 2011/09/23 12:59:35
    One more pointless talent show to make Cowell money.

    To quote "wheeling out the bewildered to be sniggered at by multi millionaires"

    Then the talented are judged by a pussycat doll - totally absurd.
  • DavidZubatuk 2011/09/23 11:52:30
  • david shiel 2011/09/23 10:26:10
    david shiel
    It's ok.
  • john doe 2011/09/23 10:18:57
    john doe
    They should rename American idol and x factor "the next corporate tool for tools". I can't stand these shows and it confounds me that these shows are even popular.
  • shadow76 2011/09/23 08:28:43
    Actually I never watched him so could care less
  • Hula girl - Friends not Fol... 2011/09/23 06:51:59
    Hula girl - Friends not Followers
    It's his show and there seem to be some great talent already...so good for them and good for him.
  • Darkitec 2011/09/23 06:51:38
    Couldn't really care less. I never watched American Idol, I don't believe there's enough money they could pay me to watch the X factor.
  • mr echo 2011/09/23 06:08:46
    mr echo
    he is awsome
  • El Prez 2011/09/23 04:17:41
    El Prez
    This kind of show is a waste of time and just exploits the talentless ones for amusement. This kind of crap is not worth watching but that doesn't stop Cowell from exploiting it to the last dollar is squeezed out. American television is rotting from within. "Reality" is crap. Why not spare us the auditions, pick the best few and have a few shows to pick a winner. It's just endless explotation. America is sucking it up. This too will end if intelligent people stop watching.
  • DavidZu... El Prez 2011/09/23 11:48:33
    The sad part is...intelligent people HAVE stopped watching (never did). It's just that we're outnumbered 10 to 1.
  • El Prez DavidZu... 2011/09/26 08:39:08
    El Prez
    Could be true but I still hold out some hope that there are more sanies than loonies AND more intelligent people than idiots. The explotation of the idiots is not good for entertainment or the idiots. Mass media continues to appeal to the lowest common minds.
  • DavidZu... El Prez 2011/09/26 13:04:40
    Good luck with that "Hope" thing...
  • kyle20111 2011/09/23 04:14:37
    it was to similar to American Idol...it was sort of disappointed.
  • Sir Bud. 2011/09/23 03:54:44
    Sir Bud.
    Arrogant,self conceited,vain and overrated.But other than that,slightly entertaining but generally boring.
  • C. C. Rider 2011/09/23 03:19:49
    C. C. Rider
    Love him or leave him that ole boy can really entertain when he wants, and LOVE that Paula is by his side again.......they crack me up when the fight.

  • Resp 2011/09/23 02:57:48
    Simon is becoming annoying.
  • VenomHalos 2011/09/23 02:47:50
    Definitely! Love him :)
  • Lilymoon 2011/09/23 02:43:49
    Well I suffered through the first show and came out alive. I only liked three acts, by far my favorite was Chris Renee. I hope he goes far.
  • MissDiva 2011/09/23 01:59:08
    Everyone says he's so mean, but he REALLY knows what he's talking about
  • cupcake 2011/09/23 01:34:13
    OMG! these people, who do they think they are? That guy from Kentucky sold his truck to "psychotic scream''.
  • sally 2011/09/23 01:00:55
    HELL YEAH!!!

    On another note, who else threw up when that guy dropped his pants? (Even though they covered him up for us)
  • nat75 2011/09/22 23:59:08
    i like simon cowell, his show doesnt look so good though, and paula pretending to be sick was just silly. i think simon rolled his eyes at her too
  • MOMMA THOMAS 2011/09/22 23:57:43
  • Hales 2011/09/22 23:37:38
    I only watched about twenty minutes of this show and I thought that he was so brutally honest that it was hilarious.
  • Sig Sauer P220 2011/09/22 23:34:20
    Sig Sauer P220
    Could care less about Simon's shows ...
  • Tasha 2011/09/22 23:25:22
    I really don't give two s#*!s about Simon Cowell.
  • Merna 2011/09/22 23:25:15
    The only reason I would watch these shows is because of his cynical awesomeness. He makes any show a hundred times more interesting.
  • Larry 2011/09/22 23:23:00
    His show is a waste of time, I watched it once, never again.
  • realityjunkie 2011/09/22 23:16:15
    I LOVE Simon! That show reminded me of the good old days with American Idol minus his sharpness. I think it's finally time to say goodbye to AI.
  • ♥ugh♥ 2011/09/22 22:52:47
    Finally now we have someone to tell people when they can't sing....
    it'll save all our ears from bleeding! :P
  • Ash-the-empress 2011/09/22 22:39:42
  • mae 2011/09/22 22:36:05 (edited)
    Well, I NEVER thought I'd say this, but Simon The Terrible has mellowed to Simon-The-Defender, defending several competitors against the onslaught of hostilities and general snide sourness from record mogul turned nastiest-it's All About ME- judge of all: L.A. Reid. Amazingly, Paula Abdul has morphed into the "anchor" judge with the most clear reasoning and appropriate comments. Who'd of thunk it? Level of talent last night was awe-inspiring, along with a few jaw-dropping clunkers, and an exhibitionist who was amazingly allowed to finish his naked-weenie song-and-dance number. UGH. NOT COOL.
  • CopperheadPride2016 2011/09/22 22:00:27
  • qz333 2011/09/22 21:52:41
    I love him!
  • abubincrazy 2011/09/22 21:38:44
    In all fairness, I didn't watch the show.
    But I surmise it's like Idol, and Idol is too painful to watch.

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