Simon’s Brilliant Idea: An ‘Idol,’ ‘X-Factor,’ ‘Voice’ Face-Off

Simon Cowell. (Fox)

Simon Cowell had a brilliant idea, which he posted on Twitter early this morning: “Maybe the winner of @TheXFactorUSA this yr should compete with winner of The Voice & Idol in a super final. Just a thought. I’d be up for it.”

My initial reaction when I saw this was YES, absolutely. As much as I may feign disinterest, I always love me some good music competition. But then I thought a little more about it.

The last “super-final” of any sort was also the first – back on Christmas Day 2003. Remember “World Idol”? Simon was handily involved in pitting against one another the champs from various “Idol” franchises worldwide. The Season 2 Clay-Ruben showdown here in the States had already come and gone, but it was first winners only, and so dear Kelly Clarkson, by then a star in the United States but still largely unknown abroad, was forced onto the world stage into a Eurovision-style nationalistic cheesefest. And she didn’t even win.

Remember who did? No, I didn’t think so. It was, for the record, Kurt Nilsen from Norway. So let’s think about this: Kelly Clarkson, one of the most successful pop artists of our time, lost to this guy:

Nigel Lythgoe, in his signature way of being both snarky and boilerplate, responded, “@The problem is the Idol winner will be a star by then.”

But “American Idol” voters have a track record of bestowing the title on people they don’t particularly ever want to hear again. The way the season is shaping up so far, I’m thinking we may wind up with another guitar-toting troubadour in the final. And how has the “Idol” win worked out for, say, Lee DeWyze?

With “The Voice,” it’s too early to tell what kind of winner we’ll get, although last season’s victor Javier Colon isn’t exactly in our faces right now, either.

If the face-off Simon suggests were to happen, the only thing we know so far is that Melanie Amaro would be in it. She had a great run on “X Factor,” but she was also shy and closed-off for most of the season and might have been completely unlikable if not for Simon’s pity-save that pushed her into the underdog position. Would newcomers take to her so kindly without the rags-to-riches narrative? After all, now she’s known for her role in a (bizarre) Pepsi commercial opposite Sir Elton John.

The fact is that it takes a long time to know who a star is. It’s more than who got the most votes. It’s also more than who goes platinum. It’s who we want to stick around, year after year. In Kelly’s case, decade after decade.

Plus, with a “super-final” like this, there’s one major question that would need to be answered before Cowell could go forward: Who would sponsor it – Coke or Pepsi?

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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