In the first two parts of our expansive review of “The X Factor” USA season 2, we did our best to try and list out some of the issues currently plaguing the show when it comes to the judging panel, the host, the producers, and of course the part that really matters the most, the contestants.
But what can really change for season 3 airing in 2013? This is really a critical question here, since we honestly believe that this will be the show’s last year if the downward trend continues. There need to be some serious changes made, and we hope that Simon Cowell learns from his mistakes and realizes that it is not casting a big-name star that matters most for the show, but casting people who will get viewers to stick around. In closing out our review on this fine Christmas Eve, perhaps you can think of this as a wish list for the show so that it brings a far greater product to TV moving forward. Of course, these are things that you can control, as there is no guarantee another Tate Stevens, Rachel Crow, or Emblem3 walks through the doors.
1. Revamp the judges panel (again) – L.A. Reid is already leaving, and Britney Spears (who is far too expensive and far too terrible a judge) should go with him, even if she makes funny faces. We concede that Simon will probably stay, and Demi Lovato should, as well, given the great chemistry that is already there. Our personal suggestion is that he either goes for someone country here (Brad Paisley, anyone?) or a hip-hop artist (will.i.am was great on “The Voice” UK, and Diddy would be, too) who has experience collaborating with young artists to replace Reid. As for Britney, we understand that the show wants the female star power for the red carpet; you’re not going to get Katy Perry or Rihanna, but a Gwen Stefani or an Alicia Keys could be a possibility.
2. Hire Jim Cantiello as host – He’s brilliant on the “X Factor” pre-shows, and he genuinely cares more than just as some hired mercenary who is there just to plaster a name on screen. Simon had the idea right when he hired Steve Jones for season 1; he just picked the wrong guy. Cantiello also comes cheaper than either of the current hosts, which makes the show easier to retain.
3. Raise the age limit to 14 – As great as Carly Rose Sonenclar was, we’d rather wait on her for two years than watch a 12 or a 13-year old girl have a nervous breakdown over being eliminated (see Rachel Crow, Beatrice Miller).
4. Give more artistic freedom – Make this more of a genuine collaboration. What makes “American Idol” superior is that the contestants at least have some say in the songs they are doing. Opening up the song catalogue to pieces beyond just “Hallelujah” and the Whitney Houston songbook will help that.
5. Show progression – This is a big one. What make s”American Idol” great is that you start on a small stage and slowly build up to the enormous performances of the finale. “X Factor” contestants are basically told that they must be pop stars overnight. It’s too intimating in between the lights and the sound, and it is almost intimidating to watch, as well.
6. Just have fun – It’s simple, but it’s true. Everything seems too planned out, and everyone is so on edge versus the friendly, relaxed vibe of “The Voice.”