“The X Factor” is changing its tune. And in more ways than one.
The talent competition, which is still months away from its premiere date, is undergoing a surprising overhaul. First, British beauty Cheryl Cole was unceremoniously dropped from the judging panel, amid allegations that she “lacked chemistry” with fellow judge Paula Abdul. (Other excuses claimed she was “uncomfortable” in front an American audience and her thick British accent was difficult for our side of the pond to understand.)
Now comes word that the show is banning booing.
Wait, isn’t that what Simon Cowell is best known for?
According to those in the crowd at the New Jersey auditions that took place Wednesday night, the audience was asked to be “supportive” of the 22 contestants auditioning for the show. The night also featured the debut of Nicole Scherzinger at judges’ table, after the former Pussy Cat Doll was promoted from co-host to judge.
That’s a far heckle from Cowell’s instructions to the L.A. crowd last month, where he seemed to encourage jeering: “You’re here to tell us who you like, who you don’t like. You can certainly be as badly behaved as you want, actually.”
What’s behind the change in tone? For one thing, insider reports from the L.A. auditions claimed the crowd reacted negatively to the harsh criticisms that came Cole (another reason she may have been ousted).
Cowell and company may also be feeling the heat from the competition. Surprise singing sensation “The Voice,” for one, features mentoring-style judges who don’t humiliate the contestants–and that formula is a success for them. A more light-hearted judges’ table also worked out well for “American Idol” in the post-Simon era.
Speaking of what Simon says, who knows if our favorite sultan of sarcasm will lighten up when “X Factor” eventually hits the tube, but in the current wave of so-called feel-good reality TV, the days of Judge Dread seem to be a thing of the past.