April 11, 2011

Pure X Factor 1 – Should Simon Cowell Be A Nicer Judge On The X Factor?

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TampaBay.com has a great interview up with Simon. They werent afraid to ask him anything. Simon addresses questions about ruining the record industry (what? I think he’s helped it, not hurt it?), the differences beween the UK version of X Factor versus the US version, and if a nicer version of judging is working for American Idol this year. A lot of interviewers keep asking Simon about what he thinks about the judging on American Idol now. But, I think Simon needs to keep being his “honest and in your face” self because that’s why we love him. Let American Idol be “American Idol” and the X Factor be the “X Factor”. There is room for both in my opinion. Here is part of the interview. Be sure to read the link because he gives advise to kids auditioning as well and more.

D: And as you go to develop your X Factor, is there anything that you have to change from the UK version to meet American tastes, or does it pretty much translate?
C: It pretty much translates. I mean, some of the stuff I was going to do on the show last year, I kinda held back because … like we just discussing, it’s such a competitive business, this. If you do something and it’s on, I guarantee somebody else will do it afterwards. It’s just one of those things. We had four producers working on X Factor last year for the first time, Idol has four producers working on Idol for the first time this year. It’s just one of those things.

D: You know, some artists have complained about X Factor – Roger Daltrey, for instance – saying you ruined the music industry.
C: Well, I’ve never understood really what their issue was. I mean, there was one time people were complaining ‘cause we kept other people off the charts and you go, well, the chart is an endless chart now. It changes every hour, so that’s not true. We’re getting people back into record shops. I think it’s just a question turning into a grumpy old man, particularly somebody like Roger Daltrey. You know, like, when your dad years ago would say, turn the music down. I don’t like it, you know … and just being irritable and grumpy. I think he was just a bit of that, to be honest with you.

D: What does it take, though, to sell records in this modern economy?C: Well, to be honest with you, I actually feel quite optimistic at the moment. I think it’s a good time for music now. You know, it’s interesting looking at the ratings of the Grammys this year. You know, they were really big, very healthy, and I think there’s just an interesting breed of artists who’ve come along. Whether you like him or not, Justin Bieber is encouraging a whole new generation of fans to buy music and download music, Willow Smith the same thing. And then on the other side of the equation, you’ve got someone like Susan Boyle, who’s getting people back into places like Wal-Mart to buy records, physical copies of CDs, which doesn’t happen as much anymore. So I only see this as a positive thing, and this show has to reflect, you know, all of those artists I mentioned. You have to cover all the different areas and be as broad-minded as possible.

D: I remember when TV used to look down on the music industry, and now that seems to have changed. American Idol rules television as well as records. Do you feel that shift, too?
C: Well, totally, and one of the reasons is why I made Idol in the first place. I got so fed up with having to beg to get my artists on TV shows ‘cause, as you said, there were so few spots available and the spots were terrible, and there weren’t really many big enough shows, really, to make a difference. And that was one of the reasons why we made the show – that we could own the platform, so to speak.

D: You watch how Idol’s unfolding this season. And people are making a lot of the fact that the judges seem to be nicer. As somebody who’s watched the show, I sort of feel like they’re tolerating performances that you wouldn’t have. (laughter)
C: I know what you mean.

D: But what do you think about that notion of niceness versus your sort of in-your-face honesty? Has the game changed a little bit in that respect?
C: Idol has, yes. And I think everybody’s happy with that decision. They’re happy with it, I’m happy with it, and I think it’s gonna make . . . well, you’re gonna see the obvious difference when X Factor comes on because it’s not gonna be like that – not intentionally but it won’t have that kind of apple-pie, constantly smiling, whatever it is. I just couldn’t make a show like that, to be honest with you. But, like I said, I’m not knocking them. I mean, they’re happy doing it that way. It’s just not what I would do. So I think it’s gonna be good, really, because it means that, you know, X Factor will feel and look very different to Idol now, which is a good thing.

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