By the time the four celebrity judges made their debut at the premiere of Simon Cowell’s U.S. version of his British hit The X Factor, the audience had already been waiting for well over an hour. But this, Cowell explained, was for good reason. “The reason that we’re late, in the true tradition of reality TV, is that the guys who were making the show were an hour late,” he said. “So they were editing the show literally until the last second, which is why we were all delayed. So, it better be worth it.”
Was it worth it? Well, this former skeptic says yes. Cowell, along with his bosom buddy Paula Abdul and newcomers Nicole Scherzinger and L.A. Reid, sat down at the ArcLight Hollywood Wednesday night for a 90 minute-screening with an assortment of Fox employees, reporters, radio contest winners, and USC theater students. After the screening, the audience was treated to a bizarre and occasionally awkward question and answer session that debuted the tremendous chemistry between the judges.
The X Factor will eventually feature a mentoring aspect similar to The Voice, with each judge leading a group segmented according to age—anyone over 12 could audition. The premiere episode was your standard early audition fare, but with more drama than American Idol and fewer painful auditory experiences. Think longer, more fleshed out backstories (Meth addiction! Verbally abusive husbands! Someone named Xander Alexander!), and less of this. Also, the contestants performed in front of thousands of people instead of just the judges, and ranged from a middle schooler to an octogenarian. A few powerful performances stood out (watch out for Melanie Amaro), and one almost made Abdul vomit.
The X Factor will premiere on Sept. 21, but you can read about Cowell fighting with audience members and Abdul and Scherzinger’s jealousies after the jump: READ FULL STORY