Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Photo: Paula Abdul Bites Simon Cowell’s Finger at Fox's American Idol Top 12 Finalist Celebration in Los Angeles on March 10, 2004

Anyone who’s watched both American Idol and The X Factor can’t help but notice that the shows have a lot of similarities, from those insane cattle call auditions down to Simon Cowell at the judging table (well, until last season on Idol, anyway). You know who else is even more aware of the similarities — and the differences? Former American Idol contestants. The Hollywood Reporter spoke to a bunch of past Idol faves and got them to weigh in on the Factor.

Some of our favorite comments:

“[S]hows like this systematically get rid of my favorites. I like the weird, artsy ones and they're always the first to go. And if by some miracle they do last a hot minute, America gets rid of them by leaning milquetoast. Also, the whole group section of the show isn't my favorite. I would rather have seen eight other super-talented people get through. But that's just me. Never was a huge girl group or boy band fan, but I get it. People love groups.”— Jackie Tohn (Season 8, Top 36)

“It’s not what I expected. I thought it was going to be full of contestants that could do everything but perform miracles. However, to my surprise it's about discovering great raw vocal ability.” —  LaToya London (Season 3, 4th place)

“I like the grandness of it all. It's just as fun and exhilarating as all the rest of the vocal competitions — but on steroids. And it really feels like they want to find an actual pop star... or at least convince the public that their choices are pop stars. And the performers are given every opportunity to prove that by singing in front of huge crowds, with dancers, lights, and all the acoutrements of a major pop star." — Brandon Rogers (Season 6, 12th place)

“I really like the fact that there's no age limit, because as Susan Boyle proved, it doesn't really matter how old you are or what you look like. And I enjoy the lighting of the X Factor stage. I think it’s the best-lit set of all primetime reality talent shows, which can also cover up the fact that you can't sing and is a subtle way to keep someone on the show as well. The production of each performance is great.” — Taylor Hicks (Season 5 winner)

“Simon and Paula could have chemistry on Idol, X Factor, a prison cell, surgery... chemistry is chemistry and they have it! I think they are the Regis and Kathy Lee of reality television, or the Oprah and Gayle plus a little sexual tension. But I’m glad the public is finally seeing the real Simon Cowell – he has a heart of gold and true kindness.” — Nick Mitchell (Season 8, Top 36)

 

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