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X Factor, ready?! Yes. American Idol, ready?! No..

Guest Blogger: Tina Hart

It’s that time of year again, the Summer is fading and we’re about to become a nation of Innies (I mean going out less, not belly button shape) as reality television ‘singing competitions’ return to our screens.

Simon Cowell's ready © PA ImagesX Factor will be back this weekend complete with our two favourite grumps, Louis and Simon, and a host of guest judge hotties including: Katy Perry, Natalie Imbruglia, Geri Halliwell, Pixie Lott and Nicole Scherzinger. Rumours are that Geri and Natalie got a pretty hostile reception from crowds, ‘Scherzy’ was so impressive at bootcamp stage that she may be partaking in the judges’ houses round, and Chezza’s roping in her new bloke. Lovely jublee.

Not resting on any laurels, the show is being remixed a little this year. Thank goodness, Simon has said that they’re toning down the sob stories (they were getting tiresome many a series ago), banning songs that he’s sick of being murdered during auditions, and contestants are being put through their paces via dance guru Brian Friedman. I guess when you have former contestants like Alexandra Burke and JLS cooking up a multi-talented storm globally, a sweet lil singing voice just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Good! I’m certainly fed up of the static ballad-fests.

On the other side of the Atlantic, our US counterparts aren’t dealing so smoothly with changes at American Idol. They need to get their stuff together as the judges selection is turning into a bit of a circus. There’s a bit more time to deal with the mess as the programme is back on screens in January but the whole thing is farcical at the moment.

Kara and Randy cling to each other but are they clinging on to their places as judges? © PA ImagesIt has been said that this season’s Idol, it’s tenth, will ‘refocus on its talent’. Erm… so what on earth was it supposed to be focussing on before?

Simon Cowell has jumped ship, Ellen DeGeneres packed it in after a year, no one’s told Kara DioGuardi anything (as her Dad kindly informed everyone on US TV), and I’ve heard nothing about Randy Jackson who said that ‘the only sure thing for season 10 right now is Ryan Seacrest’. What’s up with that, dawg?!

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame and Jennifer Lopez were rumoured to have bagged the coveted panel slots but reports say that Diva La Lopez has apparently shot herself in the foot with a too-demanding attitude that’s gotten her the boot. Dear, oh dear. This may have cleared the way for Shania Twain, who was a good laugh during her guest judge stint on the show last season.

With falling ratings they’ve called in So You Think You Can Dance and Pop Idol god, Nigel Lythgoe, to help out behind the scenes and the judging panel debacle is hopefully going to be solved by mid-September. In the meantime, we’ll all ‘focus’ on last year’s winner… can you even remember who it was?

Anyhoo, thankfully the UK has got it sorted. May we bask in our weekend night-in glory, knowing that X Factor is ready to go. Make sure the takeaway is on speed dial and the drinks are chilled as you put your feet up and become the fourth or fifth (depending on what week it is) most knowledgeable music talent judge in the land and the weekly battle commences…

I forgot to mention, if you get bored of X Factor there’s Must Be the Music on Sky featuring Dizzee Rascal, Jamie Cullum and Sharleen Spiteri which is priding itself on being about ‘real music’ but I only have Freeview so that’s the end of that one for me :(


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