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Riffs: "American Idol" vs. "X Factor"

Simon CowellWhich of Simon Cowell's talent shows produces better talent?

Sometime in the not too distant future, the British talent competition “X Factor” will call creator Simon Cowell home to the mothership. Okay, maybe not to the mothership, but to an American version of “X Factor,” set to debut next year.

In advance of the dozens of inevitable “American Idol” vs. “X Factor” throwdown trend pieces soon to be written, Click Track decided to take a quick look at how the show's alums measured up. For one thing: Why do the “X Factor” contestants have improbably awesome, possibly made-up names like Tabby Callaghan or Olly Murs, while “Idol” contestants have normal-ish names like Justin, and Ace?

And, almost as importantly: How do “Idol” contestants stack up musically against their “X Factor” counterparts?

(A random sampling, after the jump.)

JLS (“X Factor” runners-up, ’08)


David Archuleta (“Idol” runner-up, ’08)

Winner: JLS. If Usher was the lead singer of the Backstreet Boys in 2001, they would sound just like this throwback-y, profoundly dorky (their name stands for “Jack the Lad Swing”) four-piece.

Same Difference (“X Factor” third place winners, ’07)


Melinda Doolittle (“American Idol” third place winner, ’07)

Winner: Doolittle, by default. We’re not sure what troubles us more about the insouciantly named brother-sister duo-their Tracy Flick-like frontwoman, or their choice of Starship covers.

Leona Lewis (“X Factor” Winner, ’06)


Taylor Hicks (“Idol” winner, ’06)

Winner: Hicks. “Levon”? Great song! And are there any three words in the English language more dreaded than “Theme from Avatar”?

By Allison Stewart  |  February 22, 2010; 1:13 PM ET
Categories:  Riffs  | Tags: American Idol, David Archuleta, Leona Lewis, Taylor Hicks, X Factor  
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