American Idol vs. X Factor

american idolx factor

FOX is home to two of the most-watched televised singing competitions on television. From September to December, viewers tune in to watch the still relatively new X Factor and return when American Idol begins the following January. In a way, the competition shows are actually competing against each other for the most viewers and the best ratings. So, which one is better?

The X Factor began in the UK back in 2004, but was only recently brought over to the United States in 2011 by the show’s creator, Simon Cowell, who also played a prominent role as a judge on American Idol up until 2010. Since its beginning, American Idol has been the driving force of many celebrities’ careers: Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and Katharine McPhee are just a few famous former contestants who have either won or come very close, and who have successfully forged their own identities independent of Idol. However, the UK version of the X Factor is responsible for the extremely popular band One Direction.

This raises another point: the rules of each show. Duos and groups are welcome to audition on the X Factor, whereas only single acts may audition for American Idol, limiting the possible amount of acts. The age of the contestants is also different: to audition for American Idol, the only requirement is that you be at least 12 years old when you audition, whereas for American Idol you must be at least 15 years old and no older than 28. American Idol is more exclusive than the X Factor when it comes to what kind of talent the judges are searching for. This is a good thing in the long run, but it also narrows the field of different talent they might discover.

American Idol and the X Factor are essentially the same show when it comes to audition processes. Contestants must first audition two separate in front of a producer of the show. If they are talented or would be entertaining to watch on television, then the producer sends them to audition for a senior producer. Again, if the senior producer believes the contestant has any talent or could serve as a potential source for entertainment, then they allow them to audition for the judges. American Idol applicants go through a similar process, but it differs from the X Factor in that Idol selectors are not always the producers of the show.

The only major surface differences between the shows are the age and act requirements. Younger and older acts may audition on X Factor but cannot on American Idol, so the X Factor allows many more people to fulfill their dreams of at least auditioning, whereas American Idol wants to find a star who would appeal to the younger age demographic more capable of fueling the winner’s star power. Deciding which show is better ultimately depends on what you think is more important at the end of the day: the talent a person possesses regardless of looks and age, or the amount of money they might be able bring in.