Pierce: Simon Cowell’s act has really gotten old

By Scott D. Pierce

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: November 20, 2012 01:54PM
Updated: March 6, 2013 11:32PM
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Britney Spears, left, Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid in "The X Factor." CR: Nino Munoz / FOX.

If there were an Emmy Award for best unintentional comedy, “The X Factor” would be a leading contender. The Fox singing competition is hilariously inept.

If there were an Emmy Award for the show that thinks viewers are the most stupid, “The X Factor” would be the winner.

Simon Cowell thought Americans would tune in by the tens of millions to see Britney Spears and Khloe Kardashian? Really?

This “American Idol” clone is a joke — and a train wreck. It’s all about stunts and the judges, while the contestants are almost an afterthought.

Quick — who won last season?

Cowell’s ego got the best of him when he quit “American Idol” for “X Factor” (Wednesday and Thursday, 7 p.m., Channel 13). Don’t forget, he predicted 30 million viewers would flock to the show last season; he got about 12 million.

And viewership is down to about 7 million these days.

Maybe that’s because “The X Factor” thinks viewers are fools. Judge/executive producer Cowell’s cure for Season 1’s disappointing numbers was to throw Spears into the mix as a judge.

“I always said the No. 1 person I always wanted on one of these shows was Britney because I was fascinated with her as a person,” he said.

In other words, he figured it was sort of like NASCAR. Viewers would tune in waiting for Spears to crash.

And after the disappointment of personality-challenged host Steve Jones in Season 1, Cowell threw Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez at us as the hosts.

Perhaps we ought to thank him for proving that the vast majority of Americans couldn’t possibly be less interested in watching a Kardashian. Or Spears, for that matter.

“The X Factor’s” greatest flaw, however, is that it’s boring. “The Voice” isn’t perfect, but episodes of that show grab your attention. Maybe Cowell should tune in and learn a thing or two.

However, he apparently didn’t learn anything from “The X Factor” Season 1 disaster when 13-year-old Rachel Crow collapsed and cried inconsolably when she was eliminated. It was horrific TV. Incredibly painful to watch.

Big-hearted Cowell is, of course, unrepentant.

“It was difficult, wasn’t it?” he said with a smirk. “That was [former judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger’s] fault there, unfortunately, because they could have saved her.” Yikes.

And just last week, he toyed with contestants. He admitted to Zap2It.com that he thought it was “fun” to make fellow judge Demi Lovato “squirm” by declining to send one of the hopefuls home — as he admitted he wanted to do — and forcing Lovato to make that decision.

Cowell’s act has gotten old. That’s the biggest problem with “The X Factor.”

By the way, Melanie Amaro won last season. Congratulations if you remembered that.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.