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As it was, with the over-saturation of Simon's smug puss on GAWD-only-knows how many promos about it, I was sharpening up my knives for this, ready to cut a "b" (finish the spelling on that one yourself.) I'd already stuck a fork in American IDOL...I had reached my limit of seeing anyone who had even a remote lick of talent get tossed to the side, while some twit barely out their teens shrieking a cover of some great rock or blues song got to take home the Grand Prize, instead of a "booby prize" they were more than worthy of. (Sorry, but when the greatest agony of your life is running out of ProActiv, you have no business attempting to sing Rod Stewart, Aretha, Al Green or anything that grown-ups SHOULD be singing.)
I was mostly familiar with the Brit version because of the overwhelming successes of both Paul Potts and Susan Boyle, two talents possessed of great voices, but with 'faces for radio,' as the old joke goes. Still, I was intrigued by the idea that it would be a singing competition now open to ALL ages and ALL styles, (unlike AMERICA'S GOT TALENT, the more big-budgeted version of THE GONG SHOW, where anything goes...and I do mean ANYTHING!)
But with Simon involved, I mostly expected an 'American IDOL' clone for much older people. Fancy my shock and surprise when I gave it a chance, and discovered that even though it's just as slickly produced as its ageist counterpart, it actually has something shocking...people who really CAN sing! Now that it's reached the latter stages of the competition, where the judges have been assigned the groups they'll be working with, things are starting to get even more interesting than with the Audition phase, though it was a lot more entertaining to watch than AI, with less of an emphasis on nutjobs and what I like to call the 'granola' contingent (fruits, nuts and flakes of every kind).
The only bone I have to pick with the producers was the pairing of judges to groups. Nicole Scherzinger, she of "Pussycat Dolls" infamy, would have been much better off with the groups, while L.A. Reid got the over-30's, Simon got the boys and Paula Abdul the girls. In fact, having Nicole and Enrique "More Auto-Tune, Please" Iglesias judge and work with the over-30's borders on being downright disrespectful. This category of contestants are old enough to have KIDS their age, not to mention that they probably own SHOES older than him or her.
But enough ranting about my personal biases regarding the show. Overall, do I think it's good, bad or indifferent? The answer is always subjective, and depends on your tolerance level these days for reality shows, competitive or otherwise.
Me? Warts, Simon and all, I don't think I'll be going back to American IDOL anytime soon. And if it weren't for Sharon Osborne and Piers Morgan, I probably would never give AMERICA'S GOT TALENT the time of day, either. Only time will tell, but personally, I believe that FACTOR may have what it needs to take everyone else down both ratings and quality-wise.
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