These past few weeks of American Idol have left a Simon Cowell shaped hole in all of our hearts.
As great as the new judges are, one can't help but think back to the disgruntled English gentleman that slowly booed his way into the lives of the American public. It seems that as of late, Idol has lost some of it's grit. The judges don't irritate us, they are in effect Idols themselves. The thing that they can't seem to escape is playing it safe.
Every piece of feedback is carefully tailored to fit the feelings of the contestants. While they aren't afraid to comment on pitch and performance, no one tears down a dream like our beloved Cowell, who calls it like he sees it and says what we're all thinking but are too polite to articulate. While Paula, is herself, a replaceablele pawn in the American Idol game, Cowell was the backbone of an otherwise kind and sweet talking panel. We hissed and yelled at his criticism. We beckoned from the back row hoping he would hear our displeasure with his over the top crude, rude notes to the young hopefuls. It's a blatant format change to a show that wasn't broken to begin with.
In recent news Cowell is making headlines speaking about viral sensation Rebecca Black of all people. Ms. Black, a thirteen year old singer, plucked from utter suburban obscurity last week became an internet sensation when her music video “Friday” hit the web. Black's mother paid a $2,000 fee to a vanity record label to record a song and film a music video for her aspiring singer daughter. No one realized that the video would spread like wildfire to facebook, twitter and blog pages alike. The song is noted as the worst written, worst recorded and most awkward piece ever made.
The “so bad it's good” card is a tough one to pull these days. With internet sensations like Justin Bieber getting acclaim for talent, the “Showgirls” genre of campy film and music seemed to be dead. Rebecca Black is herself, an unwilling parody of teen pop at it's worst. With the comedic gusto of a Saturday Night Live skit, she is not in the top 40 of the iTunes top 100.
What does Simon Cowell think of this surprising sensation? "I love her [and] the fact that she's gotten so much publicity. People are so upset about the song, but I think it's hysterical." Surprised that Cowell is a Black fan? If there's one thing Simon loves it's giant money makers. He puts marketability before talent and in many respects, that is the stuff of genius in an industry where people are downloading instead of purchasing and streaming instead of owning. Simon went on to comment, "Anyone who can create this much controversy within a week, I want to meet. I love people like that."
Not a bad person for Black to have on her side. I'm sure Idol audiences would agree that at times we wish he was back on ours.