The gloves are off. With the debut season of ‘X Factor‘ in the rear view, nabbing significantly less viewers than ‘American Idol‘ expat Simon Cowell had hoped, and the 11th season of ‘Idol’ kicking off Jan. 18 (only to be tailed by ‘The Voice‘), producers are taking a few verbal swipes at the competition. And why not? ‘Idol’ has nearly double the viewers of ‘X Factor,’ due to an 11-year brand.

Reuters reports that at a press conference held Sunday (Jan. 8), producers claimed to have no fear of the heavy talent show traffic nipping at their show’s established heels.

Executive producer Ken Warwick said, “Leona Lewis (winner of UK’s ‘X Factor’) was a one-and-a-half hit star for 10 minutes, but there’s no Kelly Clarksons, Carrie Underwoods, Jennifer Hudsons — they are real stars and none of these other shows are producing these.”

Hey, Ken, did you hear that Clarkson has defected to ‘The Voice,’ where she will serve as a mentor this season?

Judge Randy Jackson declared, “I think ‘Idol’ is still the best TV show of its kind anywhere; we’re the original, we invented this game that everyone’s now copying.”

Host Ryan Seacrest also addressed his role with the show, which helped to launch his public career. Rumors abound that it’ll be “Seacrast….out” after this season when his contract is up and because there are some high profile ops, like the ‘Today’ show, rapping at his chamber door. But he diplomatically shot down the notion that’s he’s bouncing, saying, “I love this show, I’ve been a part of it for so many years, I can’t imagine life without ‘American Idol.’”

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