You have to want something pretty bad to stand in the sweltering heat of Miami for hours just to get a wristband and ticket that lets you come back the next day and wait even longer.
But the 7,500 people who flocked to the University of Miami’s Bank United Center on April 7 to audition for “X Factor,” Simon Cowell’s latest cross-over reality creation, did just that. Many have genuine talent, some just want to be on TV, but they all have one thing in common: they’re dying to be judged by the judges.
Simon Cowell’s exit from “American Idol” in order to focus on his new British import led to rumors that Idol would never make it without him. There was no doubt the producers would need big names to keep the show from a ratings crash, hence current judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez.
So, now the question seems to be just who makes the best judges? The ones with experience in the field like Tyler and Lopez or ones who have a proven track record of discovering artists like Cowell?
Tyler has made an impact on the show but less for his thoughtful singing advice and more for his crazy Tyler-isms. These can be pretty funny and will probably spawn a Tyler-ism-to-English dictionary one day, with phrases like: “Slap that baby on the ass and call me Christmas,” “I don’t know where you get it from but I will bathe in it,” or “You know, after Monday and Tuesday, even a week says WTF.”
Lopez loves everybody and cries when they go home, like Paula without the bizarre ramblings. But as far as I can tell, neither of them have ever discovered anybody. Lopez just recently discovered that Lil Wayne has talent but in her defense he’s only been on the charts for 12 years, around the time Lopez’s debut album came out. Tyler didn’t even discover he had a daughter, Liv, until she was nine, 13 years after his “Dream On” peaked on the 1973 charts.
Cowell, on the other hand, helped discover and co-produce the first album of singing sensation Leona Lewis who went on to become a multi-platinum selling artist with three Grammy nods and a credit for the Avatar theme song, “I See You.” He predicted Carrie Underwood would not only “win this competition, but…will sell more records than any other previous Idol winner!” She did.
Lopez predicted a possible winner in Colombian-born Julie Zorrilla. Who? You don’t know because she didn’t win. Tyler predicted that if top-8 contestant Lauren Alaina continued to sing well, she would be able to afford the rest of her dress.
Tyler also told recently eliminated Pia Toscano that there were “a million guys in a million bars having a million drinks about you.” I guess they were too drunk to vote. Toscano’s downfall seems to hinge on her having taken the advice of the judges to sing an up-tempo song. Her ballads were brilliant and got her voted through every other week. Why fix what’s not broken? Maybe viewers were sending a message to the judges: make sense, please.
Tyler’s not the only one with memorable quotes. Simon might have some Say-isms that would apply to this situation. Maybe that Toscano’s choice was “like eating a hamburger for breakfast. It doesn’t go together. I don’t think you and that song go well together,” or “there were moments of complete torture in that vocal to be honest with you,” and “it was like dinner with Paula Abdul, sweet but forgettable.” Finally, “I would like you, if I was drunk.”
And to the judges he might say “Are you guys completely insane?” “I don’t think you are as good as you think you are,” “I actually didn’t want her to sing well,” or “What the bloody hell was that?”
We’ll see if, when “X Factor” premieres in September, Cowell, fellow Judge L.A. Reid (who is responsible for signing Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Kanye West, Usher, Avril Lavigne) and whoever else Simon finally brings on board (maybe Fergie?) will have some practical advice to give the wanna-be superstar contestants besides “I know why you’re here. And we’re all here, ‘cause we’re not all there.” (Tyler-ism).