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Secrets of ‘X Factor’ USA

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    Posted: 16 Sep 2011 at 13:13

Secrets of ‘X Factor’

First look at Simon Cowell’s new show


Last Updated: 6:00 AM, September 16, 2011

Posted: 11:42 PM, September 15, 2011

The secrets of “The X Factor” are just too big to keep under wraps.

Bigger, badder and with more bravado than a million shrieking fans, Simon Cowell’s “X Factor” promises to be “American Idol” on steroids.

The new Fox show, created by and starring the former “Idol” star, super-sizes everything his aging alma mater ever tried, and seems to do it in style, at least according to a Hollywood-premiere, red carpet-style sneak peek Cowell offered in Los Angeles Wednesday.

Instead of auditioning in hotel rooms and later on a sound stage in front of about 300 fans, contestants face judges Cowell, Paula Abdul, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger in large, raucous arenas, where an audience of thousands creates a Roman gladiator-like atmosphere.

TOGETHER AGAIN: Cowell and Abdul at the “X Factor” premiere Wednesday.

Where “Idol” forces its contestants to participate in cheesy theme-nights with all the glitz and glamour of an episode of “The Brady Bunch,” “X Factor” comes off as slicker, louder and more like a rock concert.

And where “Idol” contestants have to fend for themselves with feeble attempts at songs they can’t sing and outfits that make them look silly, on “The X Factor,” each judge will mentor the finalists in a particular category, aiding them with song selection and styling.

Also, “X Factor” is open to individual singers, duos and groups as young as 12. There is no upper limit on age, unlike “Idol,” which cuts contestants off at 28 years old.

Best of all, the grand prize is five times larger than “Idol”: a whopping $5 million, bankrolled by Sony Music.

The difference between the two contests is akin to a home video versus an IMAX film.

In another twist, “The X Factor” aims to blast viewers with a hefty helping of its contestants’ hard luck back stories, going far deeper than the occasional vignettes seen on “American Idol.”

A glimpse of the new show offered pictures from the past of 28-year-old Chris Rene, a trash hauler and aspiring rapper from northern California.

His childhood, filled with drug and alcohol abuse, and his tale of woe is dramatically told -- including his struggle to stay clean and sober for his 2-year-old son.

“I think [the backstories] are crucial,” Cowell said.

“When I ask them what is the most interesting thing that has happened in your life and they start droning on about starting to sing at the age of 3 or 4, I am honestly not interested.

“It has got to be raw. You have got to allow the viewers to see things they haven’t seen before. You have got to like or hate the contestants. If you don’t have any of that, people will switch off. I would switch off.”

Like “Idol,” “X Factor” originally aired in the UK before coming to the US.

And the similarities between “The X Factor” and “Idol” formats have prompted the older show’s creator, Simon Fuller, to file a lawsuit against Cowell in 2004.

The parties reached an out-of-court settlement in 2005 allowing Fuller an executive producer status, a 10 percent share of the show’s revenue, and blocked an American version until at least 2010.

When the US version finally got underway earlier this year, Fuller sued Cowell and Fox Broadcasting Company, claiming that they failed to fulfill the settlement of crediting him as an executive producer.

Fox is a division of News Corp., which also owns The Post.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/tv/secrets_of_factor_eznE8PIkneO28U2D6bbU6N#ixzz1Y7JPSE4E
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