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Based on interviews with the judges, host and producers of "The X Factor," based on watching some clips from upcoming episodes, here are a few observations and a conclusion.

• Don't like host Steve Jones, who thinks he's much smarter, smoother and funnier than he actually is.

• Don't like judge Nicole Scherzinger, who also overestimates herself.

• Don't like judge L.A Reid, who clearly thinks he's smarter than everyone else.

• Don't believe the constantly repeated refrain that "The X Factor" is vastly different from "American Idol."

But I'm absolutely comvinced that "The X Factor" is going to be a huge hit.

Certainly people are going to tune in to see the reunion of Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. Yes, he's obnoxious, but Cowell is probably the most honest judge on reality TV.

Watching Abdul is kind of like watching NASCAR. You know if you watch long enough, there will be some horrifically messy crash that everyone will be talking about.

And the two of them together are almost inexplicably entertaining.

"It's nice to be back in a demented relationship," Abdul said. "It's like home. We're an old, married couple.

"More like the 'Exorcist II,'" Cowell interjected.

Ah, seems like old times ...

• Yes, the rules of "The X Factor" are somewhat different.

• Yes, the contestants can be as young as 12 and as old as not dead yet.

• Yes, this competition allows for duets and groups in addition to individuals.

• Yes, this show has a big, fancy set and a huge prize - $5 million.

But, essentially, this is "American Idol." It will probably be more successful than "Idol" has been in recent seasons. It will probably cause a further decline in "Idol's" ratings when that show returns in January.

Not because it's different, but because it's the same as "American Idol" used to be. Because it has Cowell and Abdul.