The X Factor (U.S.)

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The X Factor
TheXFactorTitles2011.jpg
GenreReality television
FormatInteractive talent show
Created bySimon Cowell
Creative director(s)Brian Friedman (2011)
Presented bySteve Jones (2011)
JudgesSimon Cowell
L.A. Reid
Demi Lovato (2012–)
Britney Spears (2012–)
Paula Abdul (2011)
Cheryl Cole (2011)
Nicole Scherzinger (2011)
Theme music composerSimon Cowell
Country of originUnited States
Language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes34 (as of October 4, 2012)
Production
Executive producer(s)Simon Cowell
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Siobhan Greene
Richard Holloway
Andrew Llinares
Rob Wade[1]
Running time60–150 minutes
Production company(s)FremantleMedia North America
SYCOtv
DistributorFremantleMedia Enterprises
Broadcast
Original channelFox
Picture format480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original runSeptember 21, 2011 (2011-09-21) – present
Chronology
Related showsThe X Factor (UK)
Britain's Got Talent
America's Got Talent
External links
Website
 
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The X Factor
TheXFactorTitles2011.jpg
GenreReality television
FormatInteractive talent show
Created bySimon Cowell
Creative director(s)Brian Friedman (2011)
Presented bySteve Jones (2011)
JudgesSimon Cowell
L.A. Reid
Demi Lovato (2012–)
Britney Spears (2012–)
Paula Abdul (2011)
Cheryl Cole (2011)
Nicole Scherzinger (2011)
Theme music composerSimon Cowell
Country of originUnited States
Language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes34 (as of October 4, 2012)
Production
Executive producer(s)Simon Cowell
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Siobhan Greene
Richard Holloway
Andrew Llinares
Rob Wade[1]
Running time60–150 minutes
Production company(s)FremantleMedia North America
SYCOtv
DistributorFremantleMedia Enterprises
Broadcast
Original channelFox
Picture format480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original runSeptember 21, 2011 (2011-09-21) – present
Chronology
Related showsThe X Factor (UK)
Britain's Got Talent
America's Got Talent
External links
Website

The X Factor is an American television music competition to find new singing talent; the winner of which receives a $5 million recording contract with Epic Records. The show is produced by SYCOtv, a partnership between the show's creator Simon Cowell and Sony Music.[2] It premiered on September 21, 2011[3] on Fox.

As part of the British The X Factor franchise, the show's format has numerous differences from rivals such as American Idol. The competition is open to both solo artists and groups and has no upper age limit. Each judge is assigned one of four categories—individuals aged 12 to 16, individuals aged 17 to 24, individuals aged 25 and over, or groups (some of which may be formed from rejected soloists after the audition process).[4] Throughout the live shows the judges act as mentors to their category, helping to decide song choices, styling and staging, while judging contestants from the other categories; they also compete to ensure that their act wins the competition, thus making them the winning judge.

The original judging panel consisted of Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Paula Abdul, and L.A. Reid, with Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones as co-hosts. However, Cole was dismissed after just two sets of auditions and was swiftly replaced by Scherzinger, leaving Jones to host the show by himself. In January 2012, it was announced that Abdul, Scherzinger, and Jones had all left and would not be returning for the second season. On May 14, before auditions began, Britney Spears, and Demi Lovato were confirmed as the two new judges.

Contents

Format and prize

The show is primarily concerned with identifying singing talent, though appearance, personality, stage presence and dance routines are also an important element of many performances. Each judge is assigned one of four categories—either girls between 12 and 29, boys between 12 and 29, individuals 30 and over, or groups (some of which may be formed from rejected soloists after the audition process).[4] Through the live shows, the judges act as mentors to their category, helping to decide song choices, styling and staging, while judging contestants from other categories.

The winner of the competition is awarded a recording contract with Syco Music in association with Sony Music Entertainment, which would include cash payments totaling $5 million.[5][6] A press release on behalf of the show on February 7, 2011 called the recording contract "the largest guaranteed prize in television history."[7] Unlike the British version of the show,[8] the costs of recording and marketing the winning artist will be paid for separately from the $5 million initial contract payment. The $5 million will be paid directly to the winner in five annual installments of $1 million. Cowell said in a conference call with reporters on February 7, 2011: "I think it should be a life-changing prize and just to be clear, this isn't a dressed-up $5 million, this is a guaranteed $5 million payable to the winner. The recording, marketing, and video costs are completely separate to that. It will be paid over five years at $1 million a year."[9]

Cowell said in the same conference call that the specific music label within the Sony family with which the winner would actually sign would likely depend on which specialty label could provide the best support to the winner in light of the type of music that the winner chooses to perform.[10]

There are five stages to The X Factor:

Auditions

The show is open to solo artists and vocal groups aged 12 and above, with no upper age limit.[5][6] The successful auditionees audition in front of the judges where the judges must come to a majority vote to allow the auditionee to proceed to the next round, in this case, at least three judges have to say yes for the hopeful to go to boot camp.

Boot camp and judges' houses

The contestants selected at auditions are further refined through a series of performances at "boot camp", and then at "judges' houses", until a small number eventually progress to the live finals. At boot camp the judges collaboratively choose 32 acts (eight from each category) for the next round, and only then are told by the show's producers which category they are to mentor.

The judges then disband for the "judges' houses" round, where they further reduce their acts on location at a residence (often collectively spanning the globe) with the help of a celebrity guest.

Live shows

The X Factor Digital Experience

In addition to the live broadcast on Fox, Sony and SYCOtv created a completely integrated second-screen experience and a Pepsi sponsored live digital pre-show known as the X-Factor Digital Experience. In addition to watching the program live on television, the audience was now able to participate on multiple platforms in real-time.[11][12]

Final 16

The final 16 perform live, to get a place in the final 12. There will be no public vote in the first week, instead each of the judges selected one of their own acts to eliminate. In season one, Cowell had to eliminate two acts, because he included Melanie Amaro as a fifth contestant in his category, as he believed that he had made "a huge mistake" at judges' houses by not choosing Amaro for the live shows. Therefore, season one had a final 17 instead of a final 16.

Final 12

The finals consist of a series of two live shows, with the first featuring the contestants' performances and the second revealing the results of the public voting, culminating in either one or two acts being eliminated. The two contestants with the lowest number of votes sing in a final challenge on which the Judges vote to determine who is eliminated. This continues until the Final 4 contestants when America's votes determine all eliminations. Celebrity guest performers also feature regularly in the Results Shows.

Series overview

To date, one season has been broadcast, as summarized below.

     Contestant in "Boys" or "Teens" category
     Contestant in "Girls" or "Young Adults" category
     Contestant in "Over 30s" or "Over 25s" category
     Contestants in "Groups" category

SeasonStartFinishWinnerRunner-upThird placeWinning mentorMain host(s)Sponsor(s)Main judgesGuest judge(s)
OneSeptember 21, 2011December 22, 2011Melanie AmaroJosh KrajcikChris ReneSimon CowellSteve JonesPepsi
Sony
Verizon
Chevrolet
Simon Cowell
Paula Abdul
Nicole Scherzinger
L.A. Reid
Cheryl Cole (Los Angeles & Chicago auditions;
was originally planned to be permanent judge)
TwoSeptember 12, 2012[13]December 20, 2012Simon Cowell
Demi Lovato
Britney Spears
L.A. Reid
Louis Walsh (Kansas City auditions)[14]

Judges and hosts

Nicole Scherzinger (left) and Louis Walsh (right) are both currently judges on the UK version and both have worked on the U.S. version.

At the time of announcing the U.S. version of The X Factor, Cowell was the only confirmed judge for the show.[15] He later said that he was taking the choices of who to join him on the show very seriously, saying, "It's pointless hiring judges who don't know anything about the music business. I'll probably go and find someone who did what I did for a living. I was an A&R guy for 20 years."[16] Many people were rumored to be in the running to join the judging panel, including Nicole Scherzinger, George Michael,[17] Nicki Minaj,[18] Rihanna, Usher, Katy Perry, Jay Electronica, Elton John, Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, and Jessica Simpson, though Cowell denied that Perry, Cyrus and John were.[17] Eventually, Grammy Award-winning record executive, songwriter, and record producer L.A. Reid,[19][20] former UK X Factor judge Cheryl Cole,[21][22] and Cowell's former American Idol colleague Paula Abdul[23] were confirmed to join Cowell in the judging panel. Cowell initially indicated that The X Factor may have two hosts.[24][25] Numerous people were speculated to host the series, including High School Musical star Corbin Bleu, model Marisa Miller,[26] and Dermot O'Leary, host of the UK version.[27][28] On May 8, 2011, Nicole Scherzinger and Welsh presenter Steve Jones were announced as co-hosts of the show.[29][30]

On May 26, 2011, it was reported that Cole had been removed from the show and was set to be replaced by Scherzinger. Rumors of the reasoning of why she had left varied from being fired because American audiences had trouble understanding her accent, being fired because of a lack of chemistry between her and Abdul, and that she had stepped down herself due to homesickness.[31][32] Cole's departure was officially confirmed on June 6 in a statement from Fox, which also confirmed Scherzinger as her replacement, leaving Jones to present the show on his own.[33] On August 5, 2011, Cowell announced that the reason why Cole left was because he offered her the job in the UK version back and he felt that she would have been more comfortable there. He said if her departure had anything to do with her not getting along with Abdul then he would not be judging the show.[34]

In January 2012, it was announced that Abdul, Scherzinger and Jones had all left the show and would not be returning for the second season.[35][36][37] Prior to her death, singer and actress Whitney Houston was approached to be a replacement judge.[38] Fox executives had targeted young, childhood stars such as Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus. On May 13, it was reported that Lovato had signed on to be a judge. At the Fox Upfront the next day, it was confirmed that Britney Spears and Lovato would be joining Reid, and Cowell on the panel for season two.

As for the presenters, the season two auditions went without one as they have yet to hire a new one, though Cowell has confirmed that there will be two hosts this year, one male and one female. It was reported that Glee star Kevin McHale was also approached for the male vacancy as a host. It was falsely rumored that The X Factor reached out to Glee star Darren Criss for the position, but he turned it down. Criss later stated that he was never offered the role of host, and even if he was offered the job, he would have not accepted. Some names rumored to be in talks with Cowell for the job include reality television star Khloé Kardashian, Extra host Mario Lopez, actress, model, and former wrestler Stacy Kiebler, and singer and fashion designer Kelly Osbourne. It was reported on July 16, 2012 that Kardashian was out of the running and that Osbourne was close to signing a deal with the show. At a press conference with the Television Critics Association Cowell had said the new hosts would be confirmed in mid-August 2012.

Judges' categories and their finalists

Key:      – Winning judge/category. Winners are in bold, eliminated contestants in small font.

SeasonSimon CowellPaula AbdulNicole ScherzingerL.A. Reid
OneGirls
Melanie Amaro
Rachel Crow
Drew
Simone Battle
Tiah Tolliver
Groups
Lakoda Rayne
The Stereo Hogzz
InTENsity
The Brewer Boys
Over 30s
Josh Krajcik
LeRoy Bell
Stacy Francis
Dexter Haygood
Boys
Chris Rene
Marcus Canty
Astro
Phillip Lomax
SeasonSimon CowellDemi LovatoBritney SpearsL.A. Reid
TwoGroupsYoung AdultsTeensOver 25's

History

Although American Idol went on to become an enormous success and the number 1 show in the United States for eight consecutive seasons, the original UK version, Pop Idol did not fare so well. Cowell, who was a judge on Pop Idol, wished to launch a show which he owned the rights to. Pop Idol's first series was massively successful, and while the second series was also successful, the viewers figure for its finale dropped.[39] Some—including Pop Idol judge Pete Waterman[40] considered Michelle McManus an unworthy winner. In 2004, Pop Idol was axed and ITV announced a new show created by former Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell, with no involvement from Idol creator Simon FullerThe X Factor. Its ratings were average in the first couple of series, but by the sixth series in 2009, ratings were hitting 10 million each week.

Then, in April 2009, reports surfaced that Cowell was attempting to launch The X Factor in the U.S. after his American Idol contract ended after season nine.[41] Under his then contract, Cowell was forbidden from launching The X Factor as a rival show to Idol.[41] In September, Fox, the broadcaster of American Idol, signed the deal to launch the U.S. version of The X Factor.

On January 11, 2010, News Corporation (via Fox News in the U.S. and The Times in the UK) reported that Cowell would leave American Idol after season nine in order to bring The X Factor to the U.S. in September 2011. Cowell told the Television Critics Association that he was leaving American Idol so that he can judge and act as executive producer of the U.S. version of The X Factor.[42] Additionally, Cowell signed a long-term business deal with Sony Music, who already support Syco Music artists in the UK, and will now be involved with the artists on the U.S. version of the show as well as becoming involved in its production.[2]

In November 2010, Fox began airing short commercials for the program, which displayed the text "Coming to America Fall 2011".[43][44] The New York Times described the commercials as the network trying to set up The X Factor as a television event.[43] In February 2011, during Super Bowl XLV, Fox unveiled the official logo for the show in a promo starring Cowell.[45] A second promo was shown during that night, featuring Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Lady Gaga, the Pussycat Dolls and Madonna. This promo started speculation on who would be joining Cowell on the X Factor judging panel.[46]

The X Factor premiered in the U.S. and Canada on September 21, 2011.

Post The X Factor

The winner of The X Factor is awarded a recording contract, stated to be worth $5 million (£3.2 million), with Syco Music in association with Sony Music Entertainment.[5][6] A press release on behalf of the show called the recording contract "the largest guaranteed prize in television history."[47] In comparison to the UK version of the show, where a portion of the £1 million ($1.6 million) prize is used to pay for the costs of recording and marketing the winning artist,[48] these expenses will be paid for separately from the $5 million initial contract payment offered on the U.S. version, which will be paid in five annual installments of $1 million.[49]

Television ratings

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of The X Factor on Fox.

Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.
SeasonPremieredEndedTV seasonSeason TimeslotSeason
ranking
DateViewers
(in millions)
DateViewers
(in millions)
1[50][51][52]September 21, 201112.49Final Performances: December 21, 201112.672011Wednesday 8:00 pm
(performance show)
19
Season Finale: December 22, 201112.57Thursday 8:00 pm
(results show)
20
2[53]September 12, 20128.79Final Performances: December 19, 2012TBA2012Wednesday 8:00 pm
(performance show)
TBA
Season Finale: December 20, 2012TBAThursday 8:00 pm
(results show)
TBA

International broadcast

Following the announcement of the show coming to America, several other broadcasters around the world expressed interest in acquiring the rights to show the American version of the show in their country. The below mentioned countries may have their own version of The X Factor, dubbed equally or under another name.

Media sponsorship

On January 7, 2011, Fox, SYCOtv and FremantleMedia North America announced that Pepsi will be the official sponsor of The X Factor.[4][43] The sponsorship includes an extensive multi-platform on and off-air marketing partnership.[4] On June 9, Chevrolet was announced as the second official sponsor of the show. Chevrolet's sponsorship will also include an extensive multi-platform on and off-air marketing partnership.[60] Sony was confirmed as the third official sponsor on July 26. Sony's sponsorship of The X Factor will also include an extensive multi-platform on and off-air marketing partnership.[61] Verizon also sponsors the show; they are the official wireless sponsor.[62]

References

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  45. ^ [1][dead link]
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