As if the return of American Idol tonight weren’t a big enough event, Simon Cowell has announced that this will be his last season on the show. Last summer, Paula Abdul announced that she was walking away from the show. Popular talk show host Ellen DeGeneres was then hired as the new Idol judge.
Perhaps all this behind-the-scenes shakeup is necessary in order to keep the American Idol brand alive and well. Last season’s duel between eventual winner Kris Allen and wildly popular runner-up Adam Lambert will be a hard act to follow.
Cowell is leaving Idol to launch his own new series currently popular in Great Britain. Cowell is being paid nearly $175 million for launching his X Factor show in America next year, according to reports. On Idol, Cowell was merely a hired hand, but he owns X-Factor, a show he hopes will pass Idol in popularity. Among the differences in two shows is that there is no age limit on X-Factor and there are different categories, including in recent seasons, vocal groups, singers over 25 and singers under 25. The biggest winner so far from X-Factor was pop star Leona Lewis.