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Pop Idol, Fame Academy et al.

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JO
Jonwo
It's surprising that Pop Idol hasn't been revived yet in the UK as the format is being revived by by Seven in Australia in 2022 although I wonder if it might look a bit dated now?
AB
AcerBen Granada North West Today
Jonwo posted:
It's surprising that Pop Idol hasn't been revived yet in the UK as the format is being revived by by Seven in Australia in 2022 although I wonder if it might look a bit dated now?


The difference is that Australian Idol went on for several series and has a legacy of launching successful artists. Pop Idol doesn't have that and it's just been off-screen for too long. I think people would just think why have they dug this up? Does it have anything in the format that The X Factor doesn't have really?
GO
gottago London London
It's a shame more people will never get to see Paul O'Grady's Got Talent as they're missing out on a fantastically awful ending where all the acts and Paul come on stage and for some reason start singing Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life while a totally bewildered Cowell watches on through falling confetti, clearly unaware that this was going to happen, and not very happy about it!

The key difference from the main series was that each performer would receive a score (even the ones that got three Xs). Each judges would each give a mark out of 10 for presentation and a mark out of 10 for 'star quality' giving them a total out of 60. The top five would then face a studio audience vote. Paul kept pushing that the series winner would perform in Vegas rather than the Royal Variety.

The acts were were really bad and I don't even think any of them would make it onto the show today, even as a buzzed-off act. The winner was a ten year old boy doing a lacklustre Michael Jackson tribute act. Fern was a pretty poor judge, though to be fair the judging relied on being a bit nasty (as it was then) and obviously she's not that sort of person. The show really dragged.

But in the end it couldn't have worked out better for Fremantle and Syco. If you sell an original show that hasn't been on anywhere else in the world to a US network then they normally buy out the rights and it's entirely theirs to exploit internationally. Because of the Paul O'Grady pilot the format technically already existed in the UK meaning NBC had to essentially license the format from Fremantle/Syco, which in turn meant that that Fremantle would continue to own the show going forward and could sell it internationally, which of course they have done very successfully.

If the POG series had gone ahead in the UK the show might well have remained much like the pilot and there's no way it would have sold anywhere near as well internationally as it has. It might well have flopped in the UK too.
JO
Jonwo
Fern in hindsight was quite an odd choice for a judge but I guess she was one of ITV's top talent at the time along with Paul O'Grady.
FO
FanOfTV99 Granada North West Today
This is a bit of a half memory I believe Simon would have preferred Ant and Dec for X-Factor in an ideal world, but with the live shows clashing with I'm a Celeb, it was a bit of a no-brainer for them.


There was a series of Takeaway during the first series of The X Factor in 2004, and I remember one of the stunts on Takeaway involved someone going from their audience at LWT to The X Factor audience at Fountain.


They did yes. It was about a Kylie fan who was at The X Factor and Kylie was on Takeaway that night.
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SE
Square Eyes Founding member
Jonwo posted:
It's surprising that Pop Idol hasn't been revived yet in the UK as the format is being revived by by Seven in Australia in 2022 although I wonder if it might look a bit dated now?


The difference is that Australian Idol went on for several series and has a legacy of launching successful artists. Pop Idol doesn't have that and it's just been off-screen for too long. I think people would just think why have they dug this up? Does it have anything in the format that The X Factor doesn't have really?


I don't think Pop Idol would work any more here. It plays it too straight and singing contests are a genre that have just been completely exhausted by all of the derivative formats of the last 10 - 20 years. Any new singing show now needs to have a spin on it like The Masked Singer to stand a chance.
SC
Score Granada North West Today
It's a shame more people will never get to see Paul O'Grady's Got Talent as they're missing out on a fantastically awful ending where all the acts and Paul come on stage and for some reason start singing Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life while a totally bewildered Cowell watches on through falling confetti, clearly unaware that this was going to happen, and not very happy about it!


That sounds bizarre. It does seem that the original vision for Got Talent was quite different to what we have now, it's interesting reading about the pilot and how far removed it was from the show that made it to air.

That being said, the first series of America's Got Talent was a lot closer to that pilot than BGT ever was. They had an older host and a similar cheap looking set. They also kept the Price is Right style calling the acts down from the audience (even in the semi finals) and whilst the judges didn't score, they did give each act an X (shaped like the buzzers) or a "check" (a tick), which determined whether they moved forwards in the competition. The acts were also a bizarre mix and again a lot of them were pretty poor and quite wacky. It did feel a lot more like The Gong Show than what Got Talent has become. I don't think they started doing the auditions in theatres until season 3.

The first BGT was a lot more like what the show still is and actually it hasn't really changed all that much since in format (obviously it has modernised and they've evolved it a bit but nothing drastic). Whereas AGT took a while to catch up to BGT, because the first season had done well NBC didn't want to change it too much and it took a while for Fremantle/Syco to get the show to the same look and feel as the UK version. There was a few years after the first season where it felt more like The X Factor circa 2006 than BGT, with the dramatic VTs with the acts stood surrounded by bright lights, the judges walking on to O Fortuna, Sharon Osbourne arguing with Piers and storming off, there was a bootcamp round and they even did a 'bad auditionees' group performance at the final. It wasn't until around 2012/13 when AGT caught up and started to feel similar to the UK version.

It's fascinating really how it evolved. I think it's fair to say that the original version with O'Grady would not have had the success the format went on to have. Also worth remembering that after they decided not to go with Fern for the series, Cheryl Cole was signed to be the third judge, and they only booked Amanda Holden when Cheryl dropped out last minute. Funny how it worked out, I'm sure Cheryl would have been fine but she was a far better fit for The X Factor than Got Talent, and Amanda has worked well over the years.
SW
Steve Williams
The difference is that Australian Idol went on for several series and has a legacy of launching successful artists. Pop Idol doesn't have that and it's just been off-screen for too long. I think people would just think why have they dug this up? Does it have anything in the format that The X Factor doesn't have really?


Well, at the time it seemed a bit of a shame, certainly from my perspective, that The X Factor had replaced Pop Idol because Pop Idol had a really simple, straightforward format, and The X Factor (presumably to illustrate it was a different show legally) added all kinds of bells and whistles to it with the judges playing a bigger role and so on, and it seemed incredibly contrived next to Pop Idol.

At the time, they were plans for a third series of Popstars which would have created duos (in the hope they'd start snogging) but that never happened. And in the end it basically became the case that ITV wanted Cowell on as much as possible because he was the biggest star, and Cowell only wanted to do X Factor, so they only did X Factor.

There were rumours a few years back that Channel Five were going to buy the format and relaunch it, but as you suggest, it would probably look a bit anaemic next to X Factor now, I think X Factor would have to be long gone before we get a Pop Idol revival. It's a bit like the story about the Beeb buying the rights to Don't Forget Your Toothbrush in the mid-nineties and intending to relaunch it with Ray Cokes, it never happened in the end, because the original was still too fresh in people's memories.
JO
Jonwo
I'm probably wrong but I think the second series of Pop Idol had lower ratings than the first series which may have given ITV pause for thought.

I wonder why ITV had Popstars The Rivals air in late 2002 rather than the second series of Pop Idol given that the latter was a much bigger hit. I think the two year gap hurt Pop Idol's momentum.
BR
Brekkie Wales Wales Today
I guess they had to wait to fit in around American Idol which aired June - September 2002 then from January 2003, so presumably was in production for the best part of a year (with a lot of the UK talent) meaning Summer 2003 was probably their first opportunity to film.
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CA
Cando London London
Jonwo posted:
I'm probably wrong but I think the second series of Pop Idol had lower ratings than the first series which may have given ITV pause for thought.



The 2nd series of Pop Idol clashed with Fame Academy 2 for the first month or two and that definitely dented it despite handily winning the clash.
SC
Score Granada North West Today
Jonwo posted:
I'm probably wrong but I think the second series of Pop Idol had lower ratings than the first series which may have given ITV pause for thought.

I wonder why ITV had Popstars The Rivals air in late 2002 rather than the second series of Pop Idol given that the latter was a much bigger hit. I think the two year gap hurt Pop Idol's momentum.


Pop Idol 2 did average higher ratings than the first series, averaging 8.2m compared to 7.5m for the first series (excluding results shows as they weren’t all long enough to make the BARB top 30s). Although PI2 didn’t have quite the same surge towards the end and the final was over 2m down on the first series, I think the general perception was that the second series had not been as good.

Then The X Factor came in and actually averaged slightly lower than either Pop Idol (7.4m) and there was some talk that ITV felt the whole format might have peaked, so they felt the safest bet was to stick with the format with the star power of Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne.

But then the second series of The X Factor increased substantially and averaged higher ratings than either series of Idol (8.7m). Although it took until series 5 for an X Factor final to go higher than the final of the first Pop Idol (Alexandra v JLS went over 14m). Pop Idol never had to face Strictly which limited how high The X Factor finals went initially as in the first couple of years there were some pretty long overlaps (it was series 3 of X Factor when they started to avoid each other more).

I actually think The X Factor is a much better format than Idol. Involving the judges more added to the drama and excitement, and it allows a much broader range of contestants rather than having an age cut off. Pop Idol also had those awful heats that dragged on for weeks on end (6 weeks in series 2!), X Factor massively cut down those middle rounds and got to the proper live shows much quicker after the auditions ended.

Obviously there’s a whole other conversation about the unsuccessful changes The X Factor made towards the end of its life but for 10+ years that format was rock solid.
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