Stop all the clocks. Lay the wreaths. Snuff out the candles. Put the bins out. A desolate pall has descended over the land, with the news that Simon Cowell is to quit his role as chief Destroyer Of Dreams on The X Factor UK.
Yes, if reports are to be believed, the pop impresario - responsible for the glittering careers of everyone from Rhydian Roberts to Ultimate Kaos - is leaving the show to focus on corroding souls on a different landmass entirely.
He’s launching a US version of The X Factor. Which will obviously be completely different from American Idol, and is certainly not, and never has been, a total rip-off of the ...Idol format (Nicely done - Legal Ed).
Who will replace him on the UK version? It’s a tough one. Cowell is such an iconic presence on the show, he may be literally irreplaceable - in which case producers will simply have to replicate him as best they can using silly putty, wire wool and Piz Buin.
Personally, I’m all for an animatronic robo-Cowell, unleashing high-tech mayhem for the benefit of a baying studio audience. Trill ‘You Raise Me Up’ off key and he’ll fix you with his emotionless cyborg gaze before submachine-gunning you into bloody tatters.
At least it’d make The Xtra Factor less tedious. I’d like to see Konnie Huq try to remain upbeat while sobbing and spongeing blood out of the carpet.
I’ll be honest here. I’m not exactly crestfallen about Cowell taking a break from our screens. He’s a loathsome monied cretin. A cliché-spouting worm. A corporate ghoul who’s managed to build a multi-million pound empire on the strength of being Britain’s most outrageous dickhead.
Plus, my nan fancies him, and I find that weird and confusing. Here are a few things I won’t miss about TV’s Brillo-haired dark lord.
Did you notice in the last series of The X Factor he started doing a new thing - stopping performances dead with a wordless hand gesture; an implacable raised palm that seemed to say, “Halt, sniveling peasant, the Emperor requires silence.”
It’s significant that only Cowell had the authority to do this. If Louis Walsh had tried to do the same thing he’d have been booted off the show. Anyway, just think about that hand gesture for a minute. If anyone did that in real life, you’d think the guy was a Herculean bell-end, right?
People calling him ‘clever’
There’s a certain kind of buffoon who’ll always say after a few drinks, tapping his temple and adopting a sensible geezerish tone: “Say what you like about Simon Cowell, right, but he knows what he’s talking about. Clever bloke. He understands what the public wants. You’ve got to respect that.”
No you don’t. There’s nothing REMOTELY clever about locating the lowest common denominator, working out a bland formula, and then hammering it home endlessly. Churning out near-identical, characterless ballads year after year: does that mean Cowell ‘understands’ the great British public? Or does it mean he basically despises them?
Saying the same thing endlessly over and over
“The song was too big for you.” “That was the wrong song choice.” “That was quite possibly the WORST performance I have ever...” SHUT UP SHUT UP. You say that every week! You’re on a £100 million contract and literally your only job is to think of entertaining ways in which to say people sang well or sang badly - and you can’t even be arsed to do that!
There’s something not quite right about the way Cowell revels in the power he wields over hopeful young women. You’ve got to question the motives of a man who surrounds himself with hyperventilating teenagers begging for his mercy, while telling him that they “really want this”. OK, you have the ability to influence other people’s lives. Fine. The classy thing would be to not act like a smug dick about it.
Farewell, then, Simon Cowell. Good luck in America. Don’t come back now.