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January 12, 2010 at 8:33 AM

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You like 'American Idol,' but will you love 'The X Factor?'

Posted by Patrick Brown

As we now all know, this is Simon Cowell's last season on "American Idol." After this season, he'll be leaving to start up his own show, also on FOX, called "The X Factor." According to Monday's reporting, the show will air in the fall, so you'll be able to enjoy both "American Idol" and "The X Factor" without the two shows competing directly against each other.

Cowell has been running and judging "The X Factor" in the UK for six years, and the big advantage for him is that he will not just be a judge on the new show, but will be a producer (which really means even bigger bucks to him).

You know you like "Idol," but will "X" be better? What do we actually know about this new show set to debut in 2011?

I'm a huge fan of British pop music (most of the time the satellite radio in my car is locked on BBC Radio One). Over the past few years I've noticed that every December the DJ's start to go crazy for "The X Factor." Every interview ends with a question about who is going to win. Of course, it was all sort of a remote curiosity to me, since I didn't really have any idea what the show was about.

After doing a little research, I've found some key differences between "Idol" and "X." I think there will be room for both shows in America's collective hearts, and I think "X" will be a great addition to the TV schedule on this side of the pond.

Assuming you already know the main rules of "Idol," I thought I'd point out some "X" facts that look interesting. Of course these are the rules as they work in the UK — who knows how Cowell will tweak the format here. Thanks to Wikipedia for most of this information — check that link out to learn more then you'd ever want to know.


  • On "The X Factor," there are no age restrictions. Groups can also qualify. Before the finals, the acts are segregated into groups. For last season the groups were: men aged 16-24; women aged 16-24; everyone older then 24; and bands.

  • After the groups are segregated out, each of the judges is assigned a group to mentor. For the rest of the competition, the judge works day to day with their group. As the finals approach, the judge/mentor becomes the advocate for the winner of their group. In most seasons, the judge/mentor of the final winner has become the manager of said winner.

  • The most successful champion of "The X Factor" so far is Leona Lewis who won in 2006. The 2009 winner's name is Joe McElderry (seen in the clip above).

  • "The X Factor" in UK runs in autumn, finishing the week before Christmas. It sounds like the American version will run at the same time. Will Simon be able to do both the U.S. and UK shows simultaneously?

So what do you think? Will you dump "Idol" and jump on "X"? Is there room in your heart for two blockbuster talent shows? Or are you staying with your "first love" and not giving the new kid on the block a second look?

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