Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 12:21 am est

Singing competitions battle for your ratings

Posted on October 2, 2012 | by Bria Mariette

When Simon Cowell announced that he was leaving “American Idol” to executive-produce the U.S. version of “The X-Factor” in January 2010, both critics and fans couldn’t help but worry about the future of “Idol.” Nevertheless, “Idol” remained the highest-rated reality singing competition on television.

“The X-Factor” was a huge success in the United Kingdom, and Cowell was hoping that same success would translate across the pond. Fast-forward to the U.S. premiere of “The X-Factor” in 2011 where the anticipation was high — judges included former Pussycat Dolls lead Nicole Scherzinger along with familiar faces Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. In spite of all this, ratings for “The X-Factor” were dismal. The show premiered to only 12.5 million viewers instead of the 20 million Cowell had predicted.

Why didn’t “The X-Factor” become the runaway hit Fox had hoped for in the fall? Critics of “The X-Factor” pointed to excessive hype around the judges as the source of the show’s demise. In response, producers revamped the show by replacing Scherzinger and Abdul with two new judges — Britney Spears and former Disney star Demi Lovato. Fans and critics were curious to see the chemistry between the new judges, but more importantly the interaction between Spears and Cowell — Spears has never been known for stunning vocal talent. So far, the change has not done the trick for “The X-Factor.” The show premiered to 8.5 million viewers this season, 35 percent lower than last year’s premiere, and came in second place to rival show “The Voice.”

Just as “The X-Factor” was about to begin, “Idol” announced that they were also shaking things up and bringing on three new judges. Randy Jackson will now be joined by country star Keith Urban, pop icon Mariah Carey and hip-hop star Nicki Minaj. While Urban has enjoyed a successful country career and Carey has sold over 200 million records, Minaj is a bit of a wildcard, better known for her colorful costumes and animated style of rap than her singing. “Idol’s” loyal fans and new judges have all but guaranteed a number-one spot for its January premiere.

It’s still too early in the season to completely count out “The X-Factor,” but with disappointing premiere ratings the road ahead doesn’t look too promising. Unless “The X-Factor’s” producers can add something fresh to the show besides judges, “Idol” will continue to prevail for seasons to come.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 2 print edition. Bria Mariette is a contributing writer. Email her at 


  • jose serna

    I don’t know why Simon it seams to me he is making a lot of mistakes trying to get ratings, We the viewers are getting frustrated, why they waste a lot of time during the shows in just gossip instead of just good auditions?, i don’t mind the bad ones but just a montage of them but I don’t need to know any sad story, guess what we all have sad stories and we don’t need that, this is not Oprah this is a singing competition if that’s their intension that’s TLC for that, And now The X Factor 2012 hosts have been revealed and they will be Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez. I’m mixed. I totally get Mario Lopez as host. He hosts TV’s Extra and he has charisma and likability. As for Khloe … what exactly qualifies her to be a host of a singing competition? Why not just pick Mario and ditch the idea of having two hosts? Oh well, I’ll save my real judgments until after the first episode or two.

profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.