This year, for the first time ever, Simon Cowell is expected to duck out of The X Factor. We knew he wouldn’t be participating in the audition stages--that was announced last year--but now it’s being reported that he’s quit the live rounds too. The music mogul is too busy attempting to make his American remake a success, but is that such a bad thing?
The reality show has been hollering from our screens since 2004. There have been very few changes to the format in that time that have really made an impact. Sure, the auditions now have an audience and the judging panel has shuffled around a bit, but it hasn’t stopped the series from feeling samey year after year. The constant has always been Cowell--removing him will force the dynamics to change and that’s bound to freshen things up.
Most X Factor complaints in recent years have been about Cowell: "he's too harsh", "he's contradicting himself", "he just voted off the good act". When howling twins Jedward were kept in over popular singer Lucie Jones, fans argued this was a tactical move to make more people phone in and vote. It probably was, and it’s a stunt used fairly regularly by Cowell, much to the dissatisfaction of fans. Without him, this won’t be such an issue; viewers will be able to concentrate on the singers--or more likely the fights between the other judges.
Let’s face it, Britain’s Got Talent is surviving without him. In the States, meanwhile, the most recent series of American Idol is rating well in his absence. These reality series aren’t really about the talent--as they’d like you to believe--they’re more about the shock value induced by those on screen, and as long as Cowell’s X Factor replacement can rally a response from the audience the next season is unlikely to suffer.
Do you think The X Factor can survive without Cowell? And who would you like to replace him?