X Factor’s great Super Bowl ads: Simon Cowell reassembled, pop stars have “it” (video)

Former American Idol judge Simon Cowell has been absent from TV for less than a year, but in this Super Bowl ad that aired during the third quarter, he gets reassembled to the tune of “O Fortuna.”

A lot of the pieces that fly through the air in the ad are Xs, because this is a commercial for the fall debut of The X Factor, but I’m not sure what the metaphor is. Maybe that Fox is a mess without Simon, who is a super-human Terminator-like being who can be smashed but not destroyed? Or that he was in pieces at the end of his Idol run but now he’ll return stronger and more powerful than ever?

Watch the ad and give it your best guess:

Update: Here’s the second ad, which aired during Glee. It features pop stars including Justin Bieber, Will I Am, and Madonna, and says they’ve “got it,” asking “Have you got it?”

The first was good, but this one is really excellent. From the music to the emotional connection it creates by showing singers we already have a connection to, it does a great job of creating anticipation and excitement, even though this is all for a Fox singing competition series starring Simon Cowell that won’t debut for another seven or eight months.

Really, truly excellent work by Fox’s promo department:

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.