September 22, 2011 4:51pm PT by Shirley Halperin, Joseph Anthony Kapsch
'The X Factor' Redux: 5 Afterthoughts on the Show’s Premiere
It feels like we've been waiting a decade for The X Factor to hit U.S. shores. Now that Simon Cowell's latest reality singing competition made its broadcast debut on Fox -- and we've had a day to process the events of Wednesday night -- your trusty THR TV junkies have some thoughts...
1. Wait, why was Cheryl Cole fired again? After the first episode, which featured original hire Cole in the Cowell-adjacent seat (and billed as a "guest judge"), it seems America could use a reminder: Why exactly was she dumped from the show? Putting all Girls Aloud and U.K. dance track partiality aside, Cole not only held her own on the panel, she was more exciting to watch than her replacement, Nicole Scherzinger (more on that in a moment). So here’s a refresher on Cole's very public dismissal: The network and show powers-that-be may have had an issue with the singer's Geordie accent. Some said she didn’t have “good chemistry” with Paula Abdul and the rest of the panel (for the record, Abdul denies this). Looking back, it all just seems ludicrous. We’re not talking apples to oranges when comparing Scherzinger and Cole; it’s more like a sour macintosh vs. a juicy red. If anything, the little screen time Cole received on the episode left us wanting more. Guest mentor, anyone?
2. Simon and Paula Reunion lands with a whimper, not a thud: For all the buzz we’ve heard and remember about the Simon-Paula connection, their return to the judges’ table was a bit of a letdown -- no insults were hurled, no cheeks slapped (upstairs or downstairs); it seems as if mean Simon has given way to empathetic Paula. Thankfully, L.A. Reid was nearby to bring some of the mediocre contestants back down to earth, but here’s hoping not all of Simon’s harshness has been lost during his time away from Hollywood.
3. Even X Factor, with its $5 million prize, is hit by the recession: Talk about hitting home: 13-year-old Los Angeles auditioner Rachel Crow comes from a family that “has, like, no money” and is forced to share a bathroom with six other relatives. Any viewer whose heart didn't melt when she took the stage, recounted her story and belted out a rousing rendition of Duffy’s “Mercy” probably doesn’t have one.
4. Naked Crazy Guy: An over-40 blogger who loses his drawers: Need we say more?
5. As pussycats go, Nicole Scherzinger Didn't MeWOW Us: Although Scherzinger was quite bubbly and charming during last week’s X Factor premiere and Q&A session, the jury is out on how her judging contributions will impact the panel. To be fair, she only appeared in the second hour of the first show and was probably still getting her sea legs, but if Scherzinger doesn't raise her game quickly, she'll be treading dangerously close to being the "Ellen of X Factor." For now, we're keeping the faith before merely writing off Schzeringer as The Sing-Off’s sloppy seconds.
Bonus: Too little airtime for Steve Jones. Note to show producers: Don’t skimp on the Jones. You have a potential breakout star on your hands, so please exploit him appropriately. Our advice to X Factor is, whatever average amount of screen time Ryan Seacrest got, multiply it by 10 and make the ladies of America happy.