Simon Cowell orders 'X-Factor' overhaul

5:11 AM PST 08/27/2010 by Mimi Turner, AP

Pledges to put viewer trust in focus after audio tweaks

EDINBURGH - Simon Cowell has ordered an overhaul of the U.K version of "X-Factor," ruling that Auto-Tune technology can no longer be used and pledging to put viewer trust at the top of the priorities.

The new focus comes after the show was accused of using technical wizardry to mask poor performances.

Producers of the U.K. show - which began airing on ITV last week (Saturday, Aug. 21) to record audiences - will now re-edit the upcoming audition shows, removing all voice modulation technology so that viewers hear the authentic sound of contestants.

"People have got to be able to trust "The X-Factor" - we are not faking anything," Cowell told the British press. "People love this show, millions watch it every week and we absolutely respect that. We never take it for granted."

Cowell's comments come as the producers of "American Idol" said they would never use the technology. Hundreds of fans flooded message boards after the British show aired Saturday night, complaining that contestants' voices had been altered.

But the row has not affected ratings: the seventh series of the ITV juggernaut debut peaked at almost 12 million viewers, a million more than last year.

 

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