Cheryl Cole not the only sour note for Cowell's "X Factor"

Wed Jun 1, 2011 7:52pm EDT
 
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "American Idol" made Simon Cowell a household name in the United States, but the prickly British music Svengali is hitting some flat notes as he tries to launch his own TV singing competition.

Cowell, 51, has been working on a U.S. version of his hit UK talent show "The X Factor" for more than 18 months. But as the clock winds down to its much-hyped debut in the fall, he is facing some last-minute challenges.

His personal pick for the judging panel -- British singer Cheryl Cole -- was reportedly dumped from the lineup, possibly because of her thick accent. She was also dropped this week from the panel of the UK version of "The X Factor".

Perhaps more ominously yet another singing show, "The Voice," has become a surprise hit by borrowing some key "X Factor" components.

TV pundits also wonder whether viewers have the appetite for another months-long singing competition. "X Factor" will join a list that includes "The Sing-Off," "Platinum Hit," "The Glee Project", "American Idol", and Cowell's own "America's Got Talent."

Last month, Fox television touted Cowell and "The X Factor" as the highlight of its new fall schedule. Fox Networks Group chairman Peter Rice described Cowell as "the absolute star of the genre at the pinnacle of his game."

Two weeks later, something had clearly gone wrong after two rounds of auditions before Cowell, Cole and fellow judges Paula Abdul, record producer Antonio "L.A." Reid.

Cole was seen as an odd choice: A style icon and a household name at home but unknown in the United States.   Continued...

 
<p>Simon Cowell is interviewed following the Variety Children's Charity 2010 Hollywood World Conference in Los Angeles May 23, 2010. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>