June 21, 2009
Simon Cowell explains himself — exceedingly well
Posted by John Hood at 07:44 AM
If you are at all an observer of U.S. and British talent-show programming, and particularly if you are a fan, I suspect you will greatly enjoy Simon Cowell’s lengthy piece in the Daily Mail reflecting on recent Britain’s Got Talent controversies. No, this isn’t a silly celebrity prattling on, as so many are wont to do. A couple of key excerpts:
[T]he question remains: should we have done things differently?
Perhaps the ones who can best answer that are Susan Boyle's family.
Last week, I met them in my London office and I asked them: 'Tell me honestly; did we do right or did we do wrong? What I meant was, was it right to allow Susan to carry on
performing in the show once it became clear that she was finding it
And they said, unanimously, that we did the right thing. They said that Susan has always wanted to sing and had sat at home for years, wishing that she had a chance.
We had given her that opportunity. Even so, all this has raised
some serious issues about the show, primarily about who should be on it
and who should not.
I suppose we could have pre-recorded the Britain's Got Talent final,
then edited the whole sequence to cut out the crying, but that feels
like censorship to me and would open up accusations of hiding the truth
from the public.
I also don't like rules on my shows. Whatever you want to do,
within reason, you can have a go at taking part. We are not racist,
sexist, sizeist or ageist. Anything goes.
The only thing I
insist upon - and always have done - is that all my shows are family
entertainment. People of all ages can sit down and watch them together,
so I will not tolerate swearing. At all.
Why? First, because I don't like it. And, secondly, there is no place for it on prime-time television.
The Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand affair made me realize that,
in some horrible way, we have become anaesthetized to that kind of bad
language. Twenty years ago, you would never find the stars of the day, like Peter Ustinov
or David Frost, using words like that on air. No one is going to do it on any of my shows either.
And finally, this gem:
Win or lose, I don't make any false promises about them earning
untold millions and neither do I give people a bad deal. I don't mind
being cast as the 'bad guy', it goes with the territory, but I do
believe I am fair in business.
Don't believe me? Here's a fact: there are at least 25 people
in this country alone who have made hundreds of thousands of pounds or
who have become multi-millionaires after appearing on my shows. You
don't hear them complaining.
Yet a few ungrateful whiners still have the nerve to complain
that they 'only' made £500,000 out of the process - for six weeks of
Never mind what I think of them - how must that bleating sound to
ordinary people, the ones who might have lost their own jobs or be
struggling to pay a mortgage?
If the acts who have appeared on my show have been unable or
unwilling to capitalise properly on their prime-time exposure, just do
what most normal people do — get a job.
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