Kindly old ogre Simon Cowell enjoys himself a bit of hyperbole. While judging on American Idol or The X Factor or the other thing, he'll call someone's warbling the Worst Thing Ever, the absolute worst singing ever produced by a human being. This even though oftentimes many other delusional hopefuls have already embarrassed themselves in far worse ways earlier in the grim and endless audition proceedings. But, I guess, no one really notices that there were worse before, because there's really isn't any history on these shows unless the producers decide they'd like it there. Plus Simon just gets how to make TV. He's a master of whipping up a crowd, going about the hollow business eagerly and with what passes for subtlety in this bright, loud format, all by just archly sitting there, pretending to look bored.
We understand this about Mr. Cowell, we understand his intentions (most, if not all of them, are aimed at making more and more millions), understand that he's manipulating for entertainment and outcome's sake. They're pretty fake, or at least exaggerated, these strong words of Simon's. And yet despite of ourselves, despite knowing nothing is really organic on televised singing competitions, we still get really excited when Cowell genuinely seems to like a performer. And if he appears to love someone, then whoo-boy watch out.
We all remember poor, mind-frittered Scottish gnome-lady Susan Boyle, and how Simon gooed all over the place when she came trundling out and issued that community theater vibrato. It was so exciting! Simon the Grumpy had been made... slightly less grumpy! Of course Ms. Boyle went on to melt and explode and is probably tearing through the Highlands right now, trying to disappear forever. But still we remember that moment and we shiver with delight.
And now we see the clip from a recent episode of X Factor, in which contestant Danyl Johnson auditions and Simon goes bananas, calling it "single-handedly the best first audition I have ever heard." Yay!, right? This is the kind of stuff we love, yeah? Well, for some reason, this guy, and Simon's reaction, aren't really thrilling us. Sure the "humble" school teacher looks nice enough and sings well, even if the whole package is a little cheesy. But we just don't quite get Simon's effusiveness. OK, so Simon said "first audition," meaning it's not the best thing that's ever been belted in front of him (that would probably be something Leona Lewis related), just the best debut, but still. What about Melinda Doolittle? She sounded fantaaaastic and she was singing a capella. And she wasn't nearly as obnoxiously showy. This Danyl fellow had a whole music backing track and an audience of thousands cheering him on. Honestly he sounds a little Danny Gokey-esque, with those look-at-me! growls and runs and stuff. And that is not a good thing.
I dunno. Everyone will likely forget that Simon went crazy by next week, probably not long after some other new thing comes along and suddenly seems more marketable than Danyl and Simon decides to throw his vociferous support behind her. But for right now this kid is the best thing going ever, apparently, and I'm just not seeing it. I mean, it's certainly not the best I've ever seen Simon, um, see. Maybe you had to be there?
What do you think?