Page last updated at 01:30 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Tennant blasts Cowell's X Factor

Neil Tennant
Neil Tennant watched The X Factor after working with judge Cheryl Cole

Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant has branded Simon Cowell's view of music too narrow, and thinks The X Factor ignores whole swathes of pop music.

The musician, speaking to the Radio Times, said Cowell's talent show was "basically people singing Whitney, Mariah and maybe Elton".

"Why don't they have, say, a new-wave week? Or 80s electro week?" he asked.

The Pet Shop Boys will collect an outstanding achievement accolade at the Brit Awards on 18 February.

"The feeling is that pop has made a big comeback this year, and it's the right time to give us the award," he said.

Surprise guests

He explained that he watched The X Factor after writing a track for Girls Aloud, and decided to see what Cheryl Cole was like as a judge on the talent search.

Simon Cowell
What bugs me is that Simon Cowell's idea of pop music is so narrow
Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant

Tennant added of the show: "If it's not power ballads then it was a narrower version of disco.

"I remember on Pop Idol, [judge] Pete Waterman told someone, very sympathetically, 'The thing is, you're more of a Depeche Mode kind of artist.' In other words, 'What are you doing here, pet?'

Tennant scotched rumours that he will perform with The Killers at the Brit Awards, saying it was "made up by the papers".

"There will be two guests for our performance, but I'd like it to be a surprise," he added.

The 54-year-old also said he fully supports the return of Top of the Pops, but says it should not be updated.

"It should never have tried to be cool. If it's brought back, it should be the original format - show the records going up the chart, and the number one," he said.

Tennant, along with bandmate Chris Lowe, is due to release the first Pet Shop Boys album in three years on 23 March.

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