34. Simon Cowell

Ed’s Note: White Men’s Week (WMDs) continues with a letter to a cantankerous Brit who influences American cell phone plans more than Steve Jobs. He receives more texts on a Tuesday night than 10 15-year-old 90210 girls do in a month. Well, maybe only five valley girls.

Dear Simon:

Anyone working with only a right brain still comprehends your brilliance. It starts with millions of Idol-wannabe Americans who think a middle C-note is a form of currency. Then you  embarrass them on national television while finding real talent. And finally you allow America to vote for its Idol. An ingenious idea with almost flawless execution.

It has made you truckloads of Salmon Chase-notes. But note that I said “almost flawless.”

Danny Gokey: my pick to win Idol. He's an artist with a soulful voice and his story is moving.

Danny Gokey: my pick to win Idol. He's an artist with a soulful voice and his story is moving.

Idol’s ratings have been slowly slipping. I’m sure you have a team of people working to figure out why, and how to solve the problem.

You all came up with a great idea last week by giving you judges the power to veto America. Seriously, during the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, we have learned that American voters can make costly, collective mistake. And they’ve surely made a few picking Idols.

The first Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson, was a World Series title-clinching, three-run homer. So was George Washington. And I’ll give you Carrie Underwood. I’ll even go so far as to say that I believe in my hometown’s David Cook and his abilities.

But Fantasia Barrino? She’s cool. But America somehow had the gall during that third season to pick Fantasia and throw Jennifer Hudson off the train in sixth place. Who has the Academy Award and Grammy (though I will admit there were two R&B albums clearly better than Jennifer’s)?

See, American voters flub … as do Grammy selectors. So the veto power on the show makes sense. It’s an American staple.

But I also think you need to reinvent the show itself. If you look at the artists I named from Clarkson to Cook, they all have something in common. They are artists. They’re not Idols. These people can, and do, write their own lyrics. They can create their own melodies and harmonies.

That said, it would make Idol more intriguing if the artists were working on original tracks as part of the show. Maybe there could be a week where they actually perform those songs instead of having a Michael Jackson week.

That was embarrassing. Making them sing Michael is like trying to force a bird with clipped wings to fly. It’s not fair to the bird.

Now, I don’t know if my idea will work. But I’ve noticed that Americans like real people (see: Barack Obama) and artists who create real music from their hearts (see: John Mayer or even “I’ll do anything for a blonde dike”-loving Kanye West and his fresh haircut).

Maybe it would work. Maybe it wouldn’t. I’m not the smart guy. You are. So I’ll let you figure it out. It’s an idea, though.

Until tonight,


P.S. Thank you for not letting Kanye say some ignorant mess last Wednesday like he did on VH1’s Storytellers (watched it online). That dude really called O.J. Simpson “amazing,” and the people who run VH1 were asinine enough to air it.

P.S.S. My favorite performer thus far is Lil Rounds. But, for some reason, her name makes me think “Sexual Chocolate” from “Coming to America.”


18 responses to “34. Simon Cowell

  1. “Making them sing Michael is like trying to force a bird with clipped wings to fly.”


    I honestly don’t watch American Idol after the shows were they make fun of people. How bad is that?

  2. I havent actually watched this season. I think last season pissed me off and I couldnt bare to watch again. I agree that America often gets it wrong and idk how Fantasia’s ghetto arse is an American Idol.. I dont look up to her.. AT ALL .. and if I had kids I’d hope they wouldnt either..

    tis all

  3. I also think Danny will win. This veto thing could be a good idea since it has been clear in almost every season that some people get voted off because the majority of the Idol voting population is focused on the cute boys instead of the real talent.

    I still haven’t figured out how Fantasia won; you can take the rat out of the hood but you can’t take the hood out of the rat and that is why she wasn’t as successful as some of the others. That and poor song writing/choices.

    I like your idea of the contestants working on their own tracks. That would be interesting.

    So who is going home tonight?

  4. thecomebackgirl

    I haven’t seen this season either…but I do enjoy the rounds where there auditioning..those are interesting, even the backstory about the chick stalking Paula.

  5. Well, you and I have already discussed why I don’t watch this show anymore. I stopped watching like two seasons ago. The last season I tuned in diligently was when Sanjaya Malakar was on there. Anyway, in terms of Fantasia, when she was on the show I actually voted for her like 2 or 3 times because I loved her voice and I thought she had amazing stage presence. But, I don’t know about her strength as an actual recording artist. I honestly think her niche is in Broadway plays or musicals (which is where she has been the most successful) and her first album was pretty good. But, the fact that she is very young and not too bright got in the way of her success. She really needs to go to charm school and get her overall appearance and demeanor polished. Hey, Mary J. Blige had to do it when she first came out because of how ‘hood she was and look at the success she has enjoyed ever since.

  6. @Nickisun: I used to be the same way. But I came to realize that it’s actually more interesting to gauge who is going to get kicked off versus who should be booted. I’ve been sucked in ever since, but I’m often multitasking so I don’t normally don’t hear the average singer. My ear does catch the good and the ugly, though.

    @jolie: I somehow had a friend sit me down long enough to watch that Fantasia homemade lifetime movie. Ever since that mess I’ve called her the Fantastic Burrito. I know it’s wrong (and that’s why I didn’t put it in the letter), but I really dislike the vibe she puts off. Although part of her story is touching.

    @Tam: didn’t watch last night. I performed spoken word, and read Letter No. 9 “The People Who Think I’m Gay.” I got plenty of laughs and people got the message at the end. Also, check out Gina Loring. She was the feature, and I promise you she could turn Idol on its ear. She can sing that well, and clearly can write. No clue as to who gets booted, though I hope that Michael/Boyz II Men-loving Indian guy gets the ax. He never should have made it this far. …

    @TCBG: Those rounds are interesting, but these can be far more entertaining if you give the chance. It’s some of the best “real” reality television competition left.

  7. @JLBD: see the above comment about the Fantastic Burrito. On MJB: I haven’t bought or even “procured” a Mary J. record since the Mary album.

    A happy Mary isn’t necessary the sound I wanna hear. I want the “I’m Going Down”/”Be Happy”/”Reminisce” Mary 24/7.

    But Kendu done screwed all that up for me. But I guess I’m happy for her, though.

  8. @thismayconceryou

    I don’t really like the ‘happy’ Mary either but my point was that before she got ‘happy’ she was well polished enough to have r&b success and eventually cross-over into some of the pop categories. Fantastic Burrito was not ever ‘polished’ and that Lifetime movie about her made me want to stick needles in both my eyes and sit on an electric toilet with water on my ass. The scene where she threw up all over the table was atrocious and overall the movie was like watching someone defacating on someone else’s face and videotaping the experience….

  9. @jlbd: defecating on someone’s face? damn. that’s too much for me at 9:50 a.m. Thank you so very much for your analogous morning mind. lol.

    What is it about my good friends and talking about (poop) openly? lol.

  10. @thismayconcernyou

    Because that movie was nothing but a bunch of doo doo….

  11. @TMCY: I dont like the happy mary either.. additionally I dont like the commercialized happy keyshia cole either.. I liked her grit.. now she’s just another singer.. I abso hate the new album minus the tupac song.. an thats because i’m from the west coast and love me some tupac

  12. @jolie: I would be in love with Keyshia Cole if she didn’t have gaudy tats all over her person. I haven’t listened to this album, but the first two are d-o-p-e. And I commend her for trying bring together some semblance of a family.

    Most people don’t understand how important it, family, is. But she gets it, no matter how insane hers is.

  13. I swear Keyshia Cole’s first album ‘The Way it Is’ got me through some tough times. I used to play ‘I Changed My Mind’ over and over again in the car and cry…. I heard her new album is not that good also…

  14. as your editor

    Fighting words!!!! You know I’m the ultimate Mary fan. I’ll take her happy or sad. Plus, if you haven’t gotten hip to Breakthrough, I feel sorry for you. That’s some of Mary’s best stuff. I’m disappointed, D.Scott 😦

  15. @myeditor: I know you love Mary. Forgive my blaspheme. lol. But it’s how I feel. I’ve listened to the Breakthrough album, and I was underwhelmed. As weird as it sounds, I feel like more “hood Mary” has come out of the later albums. Those first three were just absolutely classic. ALL THREE. And I refuse to mess up my ear for them with the others she’s released. Again, forgive my blaspheme. lol.

  16. FACT: Mary fell off completely after the ‘Mary’ album. All the rest of her work has been filled with random ‘ok’ hits from time to time…

  17. Ok..I don’t watch American Idol anymore, simply because I am from the only state to have had two winners so my AI time is up….

    But Simon is a d0uche.

  18. I think if he wants to get the ratings back up he should follow in MJ’s steps and also do a farewell show. A series finale, if you will. But he has to promise to never bring that shit back. Death to American Idol!

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