He’s BAAACK: Simon Cowell Coming to "America’s Got Talent"


Back in 2002 American Idol hit the airwaves and seemed (on this side of the pond) like something fresh and new. Not all of us watched to cheer on contestants for their pluck and/or pithy personal narratives. Most of us tuned in for the free-range snark of Judge Simon Cowell. Simon, a powerful record producer, totally lacking in empathy, and with no filter between his mouth and brain, said the mean things we would never and stomped on the dreams of the great untalented.

Of course the show was a set up, allowing comically clueless (and tone-deaf) “singers” to move up from the producers’ auditions only to be judged by the entire universe and the holy trinity of Original Judges: Simon the Mean, Paula the Nice, and Randy the Mediator. It was Simon’s job to speak truth to powerlessness, and make bullying look cool.

Frustrated by too many rules, Simon decided to ditch Idol in 2010 and bring America something completely different – The X Factor. Unlike Idol the new show had no age restrictions, allowing him to mock the elderly. Plus, while Idol was known for featuring classic big red paper cups, The X Factor sported blue ones because it was the choice of a new generation.

American Idol was nothing without Simon. Not even the season twelve will they or won’t they scratch each other’s eyes out and/or mud wrestle tension between judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj could stave off the inevitable ratings decline. Readers may be shocked to learn that the show is still on the air, but the upcoming season will be Idol’s last. As for The X Factor, when Cowell left after a couple of restless years, Fox having learned its lesson, decided to put it out of its misery immediately.

However, America’s Got Talent — another Simon Cowell production — has been around since 2006 and is still going strong. Talent is the evil spawn of Idol and the Gong Show. It isn’t just for tone-deaf singers, but for kinetically impaired dancers, slow-handed magicians, and any idiot with a dream and the desire to see it crushed on national television. The Simon role was ably filled by professional mocker Howard Stern. Stern, however, has had enough, and guess who’s going to replace him? Show creator Mr. Simon Cowell himself, that’s who! So bring on “the singing dogs” because he’s ready for their close up.


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Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

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