“I wouldn’t do anything that sounds like the original”. Thus Spake Sir Simon Cowell on Twitter as what not to sing on his “X Factor.”

Yes, the “X Factor” juggernaut has begun the Great Hype forward and there is now a glut of news on the show and which has really started to rock and roll- “X Factor? Rock and roll?” when it was announced that Antonio “LA” Reid is to be a judge on the show- and, to Cowell, “the obvious choice for the role” and “the Number 1 hit-maker”. Really?



As history has proven, the two Simons- Cowell and Fuller- settled outta court when the “hired help”- Cowell- started up the bastard child of  “Idol”, made a few cosmetic changes and christened it “X Factor”.

It’s hard to copyright a television talent show, but “Idol” was the first to have the panel comprising three judges- Larry, Mo and Curly Joe- the auditions, the elimination rounds, the voting system etc all in place- and Cowell as a judge. So,  “copying” or “copying being the best form of flattery” came into play and an out-of-court settlement was made.  

And now with “Idol” having brought in Jimmy Iovine, head of Universal Music’s Interscope label, Cowell has roped in “L.A.” Reid, former head of Universal Music’s Island/Def Jam imprint as HIS judge.

Reid recently resigned and looks to be heading to Sony Music to join forces again with former Universal Music Chairman Doug Morris who retired and then, at 72, has taken over the running of Sony.

As someone mentioned over dinner last night, “Who else could they have hired?” and which shows how music companies keep going to the well so often to pick up the same scraps. And you wonder why nothing changes? 

As for Cowell’s coup, the major problem with the move is that Reid hardly has the marquee-value of Iovine. Jimmy Iovine might hardly be known to known to the majority of “Idol’s” viewers, but he is VERY well-known to musicians as Interscope is one of the hottest labels in the world and Iovine comes with an impressive CV.


Reid is more of a lumbering corporate man and really not known as a “music guy” and someone who, unlike Iovine,  does not “hang” with the likes of Eminem, Dr Dre, Pharrel, The Bieb, Gaga et al. If ONLY “Idol” manages to capture the real Jimmy Iovine and not the nice, homogenized, Made For Television version. It really will take “American Idol” into a kinda new stratosphere.

There is now also rumblings that another judge on “X Factor” might be Enrique Iglesias. Well, okay, fair’s fair: Between his last single- “I Like It”- and  where he was auto-tuned to sound like Minnie Mouse and Jennifer Lopez’ comeback single after being dropped by Sony Music, both shows now have judges who cannot sing yet could bring in that big Hispanic audience.

Man, I’m just happy to sit there and stare at the awesome sexiness of Ms Lopez as she walks onto the set and then just ogle at her mane and listen to her speak in that very easily identifiable voice.

There’s also been news that Nicole Sherzinger turned down an offer to be a judge on “X Factor”- then again, as the lead Pussycat Doll, she is very much in Iovine’s corner- and with another name being bandied about:Nicki Minaj.



From the email received in my Inbox last week and with the “Sender” being “Simon Cowell”, he/it/they appears to be promoting a gentler, kinder version of himself though some have such suggested it is a more “desperate” version of Mr Nasty.

From: Simon Cowell [mailto:Simon.Cowell@fox.rsys1.com]

Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2011 3:08 PM
To: ebert
Subject: A Message From Simon Cowell Re: The X Factor

All I know is that his “personal” email which opens with “Hello”, talks about finding the next “global music sensation”. Guess he/it/they didn’t read his own fine-print: The show is only open to American residents. There is nothing “global” about the show. That’s just more hype. 

What is amusing to hear are Simon Cowell’s tips on songs NOT to sing- “Hello,” “Unchained Melody”, “Fly Me To The Moon” and “Mack The Knife”. Guess “Hallelujah” and “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” are still the “top of the pops” for him.   

By naming these songs, what we can see- and expect to hear- is the usual: Young talent made to sound ancient through a pre-cleared list of old-fart songs, sung on television with a ‘live’ band, all with horribly mawkish arrangements on a large stage and where it will all look like an amateur talent show where Mum and Dad who happen to be in the music business managed to get along some of their mates as judges.

Still, reading the comments from all those who plan to audition and are part of the Cowell Cronies, well, they just cannot wait. They have taken the bait, they will toe the line, they will sing insipid versions of great songs to “obtain” votes and to cater to Main Judge and their careers will last around three months.

Jimmy Iovine – or any music producer with some clout- should have his own online show, cut out the fat and simply show talent “auditioning” and rehearsing in the studio,  singing ONLY original material, forget “judges” and then have the acts he likes make unadvertised ‘live’ performances in a few clubs and have the audiences present give their opinions- thumbs up or thumbs down.

It might not have the ratings of “American Idol” or “X Factor” but it will make money, new sponsors will come on board and it will be a helluva lot better for new artists and getting some NEW songs out there.     

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