All of these insanely prominent singing talent shows which are popping up on television like chipmunks in my back yard just make me want to cover my ears and change the channel.
The newest edition to this family of reality shows is NBC’s “The Sing-Off”, hosted by former 98 Degrees frontman, Nick Lachey, along with presenting musician judges you may remember from the ’90s, Ben Folds and Boyz II Men member Shawn Stockham. An alternating guest judge will also appear each night of the one week program. The series will showcase eight a cappella groups and their performances singing without the use of background tracks or instruments. The winning group is chosen from TV viewer votes, who will take home $100,000 and a music recording contract with Sony Music/Epic Records.
If you, faithful reader, are similar to me, you’re way past feeling sick of these shows to the extent you wonder if there is any person in the world who hasn’t appeared on one of the many versions mutated from another. Thanks to programs such as these, it seems everyone thinks they can sing, and sing well. This belief is proved wrong again and again and we laugh at the pitiful person crying as they trudge out of the audition room after being pummelled to death by harsh, yet truthful words from a certain British man who viewers, audiences and contestants love to hate.
Simon Cowell has become one of the most recognized names in entertainment within the last 7 years. Known in the U.S. as the holds-nothing-back judge from American Idol who will break your confidence after the first note, Cowell is the one to thank for this phenomenon that doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. He has become the executive producer for more than 5 talent shows across the U.S. and Great Britain alone, but has even reached as far as Australia. Most every new talent show has his stamp on it somewhere.
The first thing you may think of is, “he’s a great business man, knows what people are watching and is making the most out if it while he can”. This is true, and you could even go as far as saying he’s smart for taking advantage. He is, obviously, doing something right to become a multi-millionaire from the television industry. The only problem is his attitude. The man is an asshole, knows it, and enjoys being one.
When American Idol began its first season, the country was shocked to see Cowell throw out the most insulting insults to whomever he deemed “the worst singer in the world”. I automatically assumed he was playing a character to draw viewers to the show enough times to get them hooked. It worked, ultimately, and more people tune in to watch only the auditions than the actual competition (myself included). However, after seeing him appear on many other of his productions, along with mid-day and late-night talk shows, that character does not fade. I love someone with a good sense of humor, but if you pay attention, certain subtleties will inform you he’s being truthful.
I understand this could be, in a round about way, a good thing. He’s honest. I give him that. I know certain people need to be told the blunt truth, no matter how horrible. For example, some of the contestants who audition for American Idol, America’s Got Talent, and other shows desperately need to hear they are not as good as they believe because those people need to find something else to put their time and energy into that can benefit them in a positive way. So I suppose he is, as quoted, “being nice to people” in that regard.
That being said, here’s the negative side. Cowell isn’t only judgemental on contestant’s abilities or lack there of. He attacks personalities, style, and things that make these people who they are which those people should be proud of. After many sarcastic remarks and insults on a recent re-run of the British hit show, Top Gear, Cowell went as far as to tell host Jeremy Clarkston,”you need Botox, you need a facelift”, then proceeded to gloat about driving the fastest lap of a slew of celebrities for the second time. This is the same type of action as a middle school child who has to put others down to make him feel better about himself. This is cruel, plain and simple.
That is Simon Cowell. Class bully.
Of course, I don’t know Cowell personally (nor do I care to), and I would love to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is a very nice and caring person, but it is very hard for me, simply because he always has the same snarky attitude that leaves me believing he thinks he is a better human being in than everyone else who walks the Earth. However, I would love for him to prove me wrong.
Also, I’m not professing to say I completely ban every TV show with Cowell’s mark. I’m referring to all of these shows. And although I don’t much pay attention to these types of shows, I do know many friends who enjoy them, and I have found myself watching if I’m in the same room. I’m just waiting for them to end so my ears can take a rest.