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Simon Cowell brings ‘X-Factor’ to America

By Lisa Manente
On May 2, 2011

He was the judge that kept the country talking on "American Idol," and soon, America will be buzzing about Simon Cowell soon again. This time, however, the competition is bigger and the stakes are much higher.

After years of serving as a judge on "Idol," Cowell is bringing the British singing reality competition, "The X-Factor" to the states starting this fall. The mega-hit overseas averages 12 million viewers per episode, as reports, and similar to "Idol," has an age limit regarding contestants, only this time contestants need to be 12-years-old or older.

"I like the idea that a 12-year-old on this show can compete with an older singer and a singing group," said Cowell to E! Online. "I've never believed there should be a cut-off age for talent."

As former "X-Factor" contestant and winner Leona Lewis had to, all contestants need to make it through the "boot camp" rounds to secure spots in the top 12, who then perform live to receive audiences votes each weeks, as per CNN Entertainment.

Though it may seem both "Idol" and "X-Factor" are identical singing competitions, "X-Factor" differs as it offers the winner not only the title, but a five million dollar recording contract with Cowell's SyCo record label, which happens to be the largest prize a contestant will receive on a reality show, as per E! Online.

With American audiences already tuning into reality shows, such as "America's Got Talent," resembling both "Idol" and "X-Factor" as well, some Sacred Heart University students believe this may hurt the British import's U.S. success.

"I think it's annoying because there is already ‘American Idol.' It seems like it's just another spinoff," said freshman Christina Mingione.

Although Mingione has her doubts, freshman Julia Manning thinks the variety of contestants will give the show a little something extra.

"They are similar but I think more people will watch because it's all ages," said Manning.

Much like the suspense surrounding the announcement of season 10's "Idol" judges, the question still remains as to who will sit beside Cowell on the judge's panel, which already has the rumor mill churning.

Though L.A. Reid, the man responsible for the musical success of Mariah Carey, Pink, Rihanna, Kanye West and Justin Bieber is set to serve as a judge, as The Daily Mail Reports, there is still a vacancy at the judge's table.

The Examiner reports that names like Fergie, Demi Lovato, former "Idol" judge Paula Abdul, and British pop star Cheryl Cole have been thrown into the mix, but nothing is official as of recent.

"I like Fergie. She makes good music and a lot of people will respect her music decisions," said freshman Brittany Robotti. "I liked Paula Abdul on ‘Idol' though."

Robotti may like the long list of names potentially vying for a judging spot thus far, but Manning believes one other celeb should put her name on the list as someone she would like to see at the judge's table.

"Someone who is really honest. Madonna would be a good one for that," said Manning.

Though the secrecy surrounding the judges may be one mystery surrounding "The X-Factor," the other is to why Cowell ultimately chose to bring the British hit "across the pond."

"I believe that America has the best talent in the world," said Cowell on the official website of "The X-Factor." "I believe that with all my heart."

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