Photo source: The Hollywood Reporter
After 3 seasons of falling ratings, diminished returns and a lack of record sales failing to launch the careers of the superstars it promise to find, Fox has officially cancelled The X Factor USA. According to a press release issued by the network on Friday, February 7, The X Factor has “completed its domestic run”. It is no secret that The X Factor failed to live up to helmer Simon Cowell’s expectations, never quite achieving the level of success as its overseas counterpart, X Factor UK which has spawned stars like One Direction, Little Mix and Leona Lewis. The X Factor USA wasn’t quite as fortunate with X Factor Season 1 winner Melanie Amaro’s debut album having been shelved indefinitely despite an initial December 2012 release date. Season 2 winner, Tate Stevens was slightly more fortunate, actually releasing an album that failed to make the charts.
Fox’s X Factor USA faced its share of struggles long before the show ever hit American airwaves. Cheryl Cole was famously fired as a judge on the show after only 2 weeks. Cole had served as a judge on the UK edition of the franchise and had success as a solo artist and as a member of the girl group Girls Aloud. While it still isn’t entirely clear why Cole was let go (the reasoning has varied over the years from concerns of American audiences being unable to understand her accent to Cole seeming at unease in front of the camera), what is clear is that the show would go on to become a revolving door of personalities with not only the judges, but the hosting line-up continually changing up every season.
Nicole Scherzinger, originally slated to co-host the show along with Steve Jones replaced Cole on the judging panel in season 1, only to be moved to X Factor UK the following season. Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian took over hosting duties from Jones while the judging panel would once again shift, with Paula Abdul let go, allowing for Demi Lovato and Britney Spears to join Cowell and fellow Season 1 judge LA Reid at the table. Despite the changes, ratings for the show continued to slide. Cowell, who had famously declared that “anything less than 20 million would be a disappointment” in terms of viewership saw ratings of the show continuing to slip while competitors like NBC’s The Voice’s ratings soared. X Factor USA’s series debuted to 13 million viewers. By the season 3 finale, it would have half that viewership with only 6.2 million viewers tuning in to see Alex & Sierra taking home the prize.
Don’t feel sorry for Simon Cowell though. The v-neck shirt wearing mogul announced on Friday that he will be making a triumphant return to X Factor UK this year, rejoining the panel he had left years ago to launch the show stateside. “I’ve had a fantastic time over the last 12 years, both on The X Factor and American Idol. And apart from being lucky enough to find some amazing talent on both shows, I have always had an incredible welcome from the American public (most of the time!),” said Cowell in a statement. “Last year, for a number of reasons, I had to make a decision to return to the U.K. version of The X Factor in 2014. ”
Fox boss Kevin Reilly said in a statement, “Unfortunately, there is no X Factor USA without Simon Cowell, but we understand and support his decision to focus on the international formats and on the next phase of his personal life. We wish him the very best, and it’s our sincere hope that we work together again soon”.
While it is unclear whether or not Fox and Cowell will ever work together again, Simon has plenty to focus on this year. Simon’s girlfriend, Lauren Silverman is pregnant with the couples first child. He is also rumored to already be courting judges to join him for The X Factor UK. Rumors are already swirling in the UK that Simon is trying to reinstate Cheryl Cole and Louis Walsh on the judging panel. In November of 2013, Cheryl Cole reportedly received approximately $1.5 million dollars in a settlement over her abrupt exit from the US show. With months still left to go before The X Factor UK begins its auditions, it looks like this latest round of musical chairs is just getting started.