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'The X Factor' stage musical 'I Can't Sing' closes early due to low ticket sales

Nigel Harman, Victoria Elliott and Ashley Knight in "I Can't Sing!"
Nigel Harman, Victoria Elliott and Ashley Knight in "I Can't Sing!"
Getty Images

Despite getting mostly positive reviews from critics, "The X Factor" stage musical "I Can't Sing!" (at the London Palladium in London) was a sales flop, and the show will officially close on May 10, 2014. The announcement of the closing was made on the official "I Can't Sing!" website on April 26, 2014. The show (which officially opened on March 26, 2014) had originally been scheduled to close on Oct. 25, 2014. People with "I Can't Sing!" tickets for performances that were to take place after May 10, 2014, can receive refunds for the tickets at the original point of sale if the tickets were purchased from an authorized seller.

Stage Entertainment U.K. CEO Rebecca Quigley issued this statement about the closing: “We are sad to be bringing 'I Can’t Sing!' to a close but are immensely proud to have co-produced the show. The West End can be an unpredictable place as the closure of a number of high profile productions recently has shown. 'I Can’t Sing!' has had audiences on their feet night after night, four and five star reviews from the critics and an amazing company and creative team, but it seems that isn’t always enough.”

Syco Television global chief Nigel Hall added, "From the moment Harry Hill and Steve Brown told us their idea for 'I Can’t Sing!' we knew this was going to be a fun project. Alongside Stage Entertainment we’d like to thank the cast and crew who have worked so hard on this show. To everyone at Really Useful Theatres and the ever supportive staff at the London Palladium, and everyone involved in 'I Can’t Sing!' I’d like to say a huge thanks and the very best of luck with their next venture."

On March 26, 2014, Simon Cowell and several stars from "The X Factor" and other celebrities attended the musical's opening night. Cowell (who was there with his girlfriend/baby mama Lauren Silverman) is one of the producers of this West End musical, whose book was written by former "TV Burp" star Harry Hill. The musical's songs were written by Hill and Steve Brown.

On Jan. 15, 2014, "I Can't Sing!" revealed its first official cast photos with the stars who play the judges in the musical: Nigel Harman (who plays the character of Simon, inspired by Simon Cowell), Ashley Knight (who plays the character of Louis, inspired by "X Factor" U.K. judge Louis Walsh) and Victoria Elliott (who plays Jordy, inspired by "X Factor" judge Cheryl Cole, who is a Geordie).

As previously reported, songs from "I Can't Sing!" got a sneak preview at the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium on Nov. 25, 2013. ITV televised the Royal Variety Performance on Dec. 9, 2013.

"I Can't Sing!" follows the journey of an "X Factor" U.K. contestant named Chenice. In "I Can't Sing!," Chenice has a romance with fellow contestant Max. Cynthia Erivo plays Chenice, and Alan Morrissey plays Max.

Other "I Can't Sing!" cast members are:

  • Simon Bailey as "X Factor" host Liam O’Deary (inspired by real-life "X Factor" U.K. host Dermot O'Leary)
  • Billy Carter as "X Factor" U.K. executive producer Gerard Smalls (inspired by real-life "X Factor" executive producer Richard Holloway)
  • Simon Lipkin as Chenice’s faithful canine sidekick Barlow (inspired by former "X Factor" U.K. judge Gary Barlow)
  • Joe Speare as Chenice's iron-lung bound grandfather
  • Katy Secombe as supermarket checkout employee Brenda, an "X Factor" contestant (inspired by former "X Factor" U.K. 2010 contestant Mary Byrne, who was nicknamed Tesco Mary)
  • Charlie Baker as Trevor Mordo, a hunchback "X Factor" contestant
  • Shaun Smith and Rowen Hawkins as hyperactive Irish pop duo Alterboyz (inspired by Jedward, the Irish twin brothers who were on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2009).

Other cast members include Luke Baker, Adam J. Bernard, Jenna Boyd, Cyrus Brandon, Gabrielle Brooks, Scarlette Douglas, Kelly Ewins, Scott Garnham, Cherelle Jay, Faisal Khodaukus, Jaye Marshall, Brian McCann, Max Parker, Joseph Prouse, Steven Serlin, Kirstie Skivington, Philippa Stefani, Gary Trainor and Alex Young.

News of "The X Factor" musical first broke in September 2011, when it was reported that Cowell had reached out to Hill to work on the musical.

According to the Daily Mirror, Cowell said that he did not interfere in the writing of the musical, which pokes fun at several "X Factor" stars, including Cowell: “The deal I made with Harry was ‘I’m not going to change a word.' It is what it is. If it looks like I had an influence, it won’t work.”

As previously reported, previews for "I Can't Sing!" (which began on March 5, 2014) were plagued with "technical difficulties" and delays, but those problems were sorted out by opening night. However, despite bouncing back from the technical problems, "I Can't Sing!" couldn't sell enough tickets to keep the production going.

According to The Sun, Cowell and his Syco Music company invested about £10 million (or $16 million in U.S. dollars) in the musical.

The failure of "I Can't Sing!" is another blow to Cowell's entertainment empire in the past couple of years. In February 2014, the Fox network cancelled the U.S. version of "The X Factor." And since 2012, local versions of "The X Factor" have been cancelled in Chile, Sweden and Slovenia. It has not been announced yet if "The X Factor" in Germany, Russia and New Zealand will return in 2014. Ratings for "The X Factor" have generally been on the decline worldwide.

Meanwhile, Cowell's "Got Talent" franchise is also crumbling. "Australia's Got Talent" was cancelled in 2014. And since 2012, "Got Talent" shows have also been axed in New Zealand, Canada, Greece, the Philippines, Finland, Portugal, Estonia, Lithuania and Moldova.

On the bright side for Cowell's financial fortunes, he still has a cash cow with One Direction, the world's biggest-selling act from "The X Factor." One Direction (which is signed to Syco Music, the record company owned by Cowell and Sony Music) is currently on a world tour of stadiums and is one of the few music artists who can sell out stadiums around the world in 2014.