If I were Simon Cowell, I’d be going to see a good fung shui man, having my head shaved bald to “shed” the bad luck and finding out from him where to move my furniture around so good luck starts to come my way.
Almost overnight, there has been a sustained backlash on “X Factor” and contestants from these television talent shows. It’s not “American Idol” that is being slagged off, but “X Factor” and with Cowell holding the bag for reducing music to an Eurovision Yawn Festival level.
Elton John, for example- and these days, the bitch is holding nothing back- came out and blasted the show- and others, calling them “arse-paralyzingly brain crippling”- for not nurturing good talent and turning the mediocre into “pop stars”. These links make for very interesting reading.
Simon Cowell’s “X Factor” in the UK has been plagued with controversy this season- auto-tuned contestants, contestants freaking out, contestants on meds, silly singles that made no sense, rumours of paid for Number 1′s in the UK featuring the show’s Finalists- and then, on a personal level, and which he thought to coyly publicize for reasons some of us know all too well, his engagement was “suddenly” called off.
Then, last week, “his girl” Susan Boyle appeared on “The View” and lost her voice mid-song. Someone, please, forget contracts and even cataracts: Let the poor woman retire to her nice new home in Scotland and hang out with her four-legged cats.
This new road to showbiz is taking its toll on this lady who is starting the slog to her singing career at the age of 47 and the psychological cracks are showing.
When all is said and done, Simon Cowell is going to go down in history- and in flames- as the man responsible for trotting out a shameless parade of false “idols” and making the music world even more of the junkyard bond it has become.
Again, perhaps its karma and perhaps he is the fall guy for this turn of events and his place in the annals of Pop history that even his publicist- Max Clifford- cannot hide: His place in the music pantheon seems to be going tits up.
Don’t get me wrong: Cowell is not hurting for a quid. But he has become both the Sarah Palin and the Rodney Dangerfield of the music industry: He gets no respect and it is now widely known- by not only insiders- that he talks bollocks and has no respect nor time for trying to make music invaluable.
Quick: Think of Simon Cowell and what comes to mind? See?
Of course, all this is happening as he plans his assault on America by taking his spluttering “X Factor” franchise over there to do battle against Season 10 of Simon Fuller’s “American Idol”.
With Universal Music being the latter show’s new music company, new UM Chairman Lucien Grainge staring at the bottom line of the company very carefully and Jimmy Iovine, head of UM’s Interscope imprint being the show’s in-house mentor along with his extremely hip posse of producers, this new season of “American Idol” is going to be looking and sounding very different to twenty-year-olds singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and judges wanting them to have “more swagger”.
Cowell is going to look more and more old-fashioned, almost senile and irrelevant.
That “Mr Nasty” shtick has well-worn out its welcome and, looking at the success rate of all the Finalists from “X Factor” and “American Idol”, it is a pretty poor one. It appears successful ‘cos of the relentless spinning and media blitzes.
What about Simon Fuller, you might well ask. Yes, Simon The First might have created “American Idol” and given Cowell his big break, but he inherited those who “America” and the judges- led by Cowell- picked.
Plus, in the cold harsh light of the day, perhaps most of those picked were simply not very good and, just maybe, Simon Fuller is not even that interested in the franchise anymore. Been there, done that and he’s got the t-shirt. He has nothing else to prove except to create something totally new and not recycle or patch up something that was born ten years ago and when the music industry had a pulse.
One has to even wonder how “American” these “idols” are today anyway as most seem to be touring certain markets in Asia- mainly Singapore and the Philippines- with increasing regularity as these are the only markets where they have strong fan bases and get paid way too much money for who they are and what they do. But let’ not begrudge them of that. It’s all about supply and demand.
America as a viable market for them? Forget it. America as a music market is dead, dead, dead and it died through arrogance to music fans, ignorance of music fans, politics and greed.
Throw “US record sales numbers” this way and I’ll lob them right back as most would have been paid for by the recording company. Or, they are exports, or these “numbers” are based on ship-outs and nowhere does anyone give the numbers on “returns”.
Even as a touring market, unless you are an act in that 1% “super-liga”, the money- and audience- is not there.
David Beckham can go out there and sing for ten minutes- and he cannot sing- and make more money than most bands. Sad, but true. And who manages Becks? Simon Fuller.
As for these television talent shows and what they and Mark Burnett, the King Of Trash TV, have spawned, well, it has now reached pandemic proportions and it appears that the world has had enough of them. Yet, they keep being produced. Why?
Like music companies and music executives, it is television stations and channels and programmers out of touch with their audiences.
I still do not understand the popularity of “Living With The Kardashians” and Kim Kardashian, but being a masochist and with Season 12 of “The Bachelor” being shown out here, I watched this shocking piece of crap last night.
It was then that I realized just how dumbed down everything has become- especially in America. It must be the Sarah Palin Factor. The fact that this woman, who is meant to be a politician, has been given her own reality shows- and by Mark Burnett- speaks volumes as to what is happening in that country.
Maybe we need more fantasy and far less “reality” if, for example, a stiff, generically “handsome” and boring British bloke- The Bachelor- has to fly to America to find a wife and is surrounded by bimbos and drama queens.
How desperate can they all be to “fall in love” with him so darn quickly? The Bachelor picked his “love” and, sadly, the couple did not last. Aaaaaaaw.
This bloke could have been a 30-year-old Simon Cowell. He used his “Britishness” so well. Plus, when three of the girls sang to him in an attack of sheer desperation, for a minute there, I thought it was Simon Cowell and this was some weird new segment of “X Factor”. Why is there this interest in trashy television? How do these people become celebrities?
This is the word going through my head watching most of these reality shows, especially, Tyra Banks’ “America’s Next Top Model”: Desperation.
Which brand/magazine/sponsor would hire any of these desperate women to model anything for them after seeing the “reality” of their stupidity and vapidness? This show desperately needs Joan Rivers to give it a reality check.
Where does music fit into all this madness, all this drivel and trashiness?
I don’t think it really does other than as background music. And background music does not have to be intelligent.
Someone would always tell me, who listens to lyrics today, anyway? She was right. Look- and listen- to what is topping the charts today: It’s fluff and pop puff pastries.
Those making the most money are DJs and the venues bringing in the crowds are clubs and where most sponsors- the various brands of alcohol- plonk their money.
Once upon a time, Cindi Lauper sang how “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. Today, perhaps it’s the economy in some countries, perhaps it’s “new money” in other countries, but people seem to want to dance their cares – and their money- away. It’s the new Prozac and the new smart pill: Be off your face and dance.
Sure, we have always danced, but dancing today is almost like one reason to escape from watching television, escape from the realities of life and try to shake off the mindless pop one hears on the radio and MTV to more mindless music with very little to think about except a beat. And no one listens to a beat.
Trashy, Reality Music is here. And some of it, like Duck Sauce and “Barbra Streisand,” I actually like. It’s mindless.
If the new season of “American Idol” introduces some DJs like those behind Duck Sauce- even if they never win- it will be a very significant move away from Simon Cowellian-controlled Vapid Pop and no more contestants with “back stories”.
Music and reality television is a very bad mix.