‘X Factor’ Preview Signals Return Of Simon And Paula

Promo teases a kinder, gentler head judge ... before showing Cowell will be no such thing on new show this fall.

America got its first taste of Simon Cowell’s highly anticipated American “X Factor” series (premiering September 21) during a new TV spot that aired on Fox Tuesday night (July 12) during the Major League Baseball’s 82nd All-Star Game, and as expected, the teaser was nothing short of over-the-top.

The almost three-minute promo begins on an eerily positive note as judges Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and L.A. Reid are approached by a young girl on the first day of auditions. “Hi. What’s your name, sweetheart?” Adbul asks the contestant, who replies, “Lillian,” and Cowell wishes her luck. After she delivers a less-than-mediocre rendition of “Annie” classic “Tomorrow,” the judges — including Simon — lavishly praise Lillian.

The promo pans to shots of the panel greeting a line of fans while Cowell delivers some inspiring lines.

“Let’s face it: A year is a long time,” he says, as we see him uncharacteristically smiling and shaking hands like a politician. “We’ll change your attitudes and this is a different decade. It’s not about me anymore. It’s about them. I want to make people’s dreams come true.

“I even think about the environment,” Cowell continues, as he gets into a Chevy Volt (one of several blatant Chevy product placements in the ad). “My attitude this year? Helping others make a better tomorrow.”

If viewers didn’t notice the comic nature of Simon’s words, they sure caught wind when the series of terrible “Tomorrow” auditions pile up in a distorted montage, until he wakes up from the dream.

Following glamour shots of the four judges stepping out of private planes as Guns N’ Roses’ “Live and Let Die” blasts in the background, we finally get a glimpse of some not-so-scripted footage from the forthcoming reality competition. Now there’s loads of critical feedback from Cowell and Reid, while Scherzinger and Abdul appear moved by some auditioners. Not only is the acerbic Simon back, but so is the unpredictable Paula, and we see her gushing over a singer, shoving a cup out of Simon’s hand and snapping back at an audience member.

“What else did you expect?” Cowell asks the camera, as the ad comes to a close.