Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell

With the UK’s biggest talent show returning to screens this weekend, hopes are high that the show could return to the glory days of yore. However, the show back then had one crucial component that the show doesn’t now.

Simon Cowell.

Louis Walsh has been very public this week in his assessment of the show, saying that the show isn’t as strong as it was when Simon was on board. Whatever you think of Walsh, he’s got a definite point. The show isn’t a patch on what it used to be.

As he continues his efforts to make the X Factor brand as global as the ‘Idol’ tag that’s become nearly universal in the space of the last decade, Cowell increasingly became more and more absorbed with getting the show’s American version up to speed.

Now that he’s basically been forced to choose his focus Cowell’s chose the U.S, abandoning the U.K original for good. California over Clapham. Can’t ever see why.

In his absence though, his show may just crumble. Without Cowell, the show will be left fully in the hands of Barlow, Walsh, Tulisa and Sherzinger. While Barlow made a good debut last year, the lack of a ‘Mr Nasty’ for another year will wound the entire competition.

As much as the recent PR train is trying to make Louis out as the new hard cookie of the panel, he won’t be. He never will be. His predilection towards novelty acts and fun will always stop him being anything like the voice of reason.

They may have experience in the industry, but the current group of judges (although Barlow bucks this trend occasionally) are unilaterally pandering and over-praising. They cheer on mediocrity and hail any singer with a half-ounce of talent as the next Freddie Mercury.

It doesn’t help with the audiences they get in for the live shows. Cheering every performance like it was the single greatest thing they’ve ever seen, their reactions towards anything but unilateral praise is ridiculous. Boos ring out whenever any of the judges tell a pitchy artist they’re pitchy. It makes the show nigh on unwatchable at times.

The X Factor and other talent shows can turn up some real talents. Will Young, Leona Lewis, and Kelly Clarkson and Chris Daughtry from across the pond show that reality shows can, and indeed sometimes do, work. All too often though we simply get mediocre or competent singers, thrown into a pond way too big for them only to wonder where it all went wrong when the first album comes out, the zeitgeist ends and they’re not top of the charts any more.

Gary Barlow’s said though that the talent this year is exceptional. It needs to be for the X Factor to have any chance of clawing back an audience that left them for the superior The Voice, or abandoned the genre wholesale.

Quick question. Who ever tuned in to Pop Idol or the X Factor for the latest round of Louis Walsh eulogising or Nicole Sherzinger praise? Exactly. They need brilliant acts, and they need them now!

FemaleFirst Cameron Smith

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