'The X Factor' Season 1 Preview Guide: Because America Needs More Singers
Following seven successful seasons and a handful of lawsuits in the UK, Simon Cowell is finally bringing his singing competition The X Factor stateside. For The X Factor season 1, he will be joined as a judge by his former American Idol cohort Paula Abdul, record producer L.A. Reid and singer Nicole Scherzinger, the latter of whom was a late replacement for one of the original judges from the U.K. version, Cheryl Cole. Someone named Steve Jones is set to host.

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The format of The X Factor season 1 is pretty different from American Idol, the show that it will undoubtedly be compared to in every way. The contestants audition for producers up until they perform for real judges.

But unlike Idol, they perform for both judges and a live audience so that the judges can get a better read on how they react on stage. Following that stage, remaining contestants are put through a singing boot camp where the judges, and probably celebrities, help them refine specific facets of their talents. Following that there is a series of live performance shows and rounds of voting to see who will be given the grand prize. And it is truly a grand prize -- a FIVE MILLION DOLLAR contract with Sony.

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One of those stages might have sounded familiar, though. As many people noted when The Voice debuted, that show borrowed a lot of the same vibe that The X Factor is trying to convey. The most notable aspect is the coaching, and many were led to wonder if the runaway success of The Voice would cut into some of the anticipation for The X Factor.

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They won't be on TV at the same time so it's doubtful that people will be too affected, and with any show involving Simon Cowell, hearing what he has to say is one of the biggest factors that make people tune in. But it is going to be interesting to see how much more saturation the market can take with singing competitions. FOX is banking on The X Factor season 1 to carry their typically ho-hum fall season and then they will turn around a couple of months later with another season of American Idol. Is there a point where there's too much singing on TV?

I guess we will find out since FOX is going all-in with singing this season, starting with the two-part, four-hour X Factor series premiere on September 21 and 22 at 8pm.

Casey Casteel
Contributing Writer

(Image and video courtesy of FOX)