Simon, the pantomime villain

Posted May 31, 2011

Simon, the pantomime villain

What’s going on? First Dannii’s out. Now it’s Cheryl who’s been dumped from the X Factor - on both sides of the pond! They’ve been swept aside in an act more brutal than any ministerial Cabinet reshuffle. This looks like sexist behaviour at its worst. After all, it’s only the women who are being shuffled out the door. Cue the booing for Simon Cowell on his first television appearance since returning to the UK!

When Dannii was replaced as a judge on the X Factor we were told it was because the auditions clashed with the finals of Australia’s Got Talent. There you have it then, a simple explanation - she couldn't be in two places at the same time. But didn't fall for this con. We suspected that there was a dark force at work – Simon – who had been planning to jettison her all along, once he’d tired of her.

Then there was the whole Cheryl Cole debacle. The public’s fascination with Chazza’s unceremonious dumping from the US version of the X Factor shows no sign of abating. What on earth happened? We, the viewing public, don’t really know but we believe that Simon, the pantomime villain, cast her aside like a discarded toy when television executives decided she wasn’t going to cut the mustard with the American public. Victim and villain. Someone has to be blamed; someone must have been wronged. That’s how we see things these days.

So for the last few months we’ve been scanning every tweet, blog and press announcement, trying to decipher what actually happened. We’re trying our best to pin something on Simon. And if we can’t do that, then we can always move on to character assassination of the women we initially supported. We’re already paving the way for that one with talk of Cheryl’s unreasonable, huffy behaviour such as refusing to return Simon’s calls whilst simultaneously demanding a huge pay rise to return to the UK version of the show.

It's just unsubstantiated speculation driven by viral gossip and it has spun totally out of control. I’m at fault as much as anyone because I was quick to point the finger of blame at Simon Cowell. Then I thought a bit more about it and realised that the true villain of the piece is human nature.

Today, I read that Dannii Minogue’s relationship with Kris Smith, her boyfriend of three years, is under strain. Their hectic work schedules, split between the UK and Australia, have forced them apart. Could this be the real reason for Dannii’s departure from the X Factor? She has spoken before about the stress of juggling parenthood and her career. She has also mentioned her desire to spend more time in Australia close to her family. So it’s possible that it was her decision not to join the X Factor, one that she made for very personal reasons. I hear that she is in talks with her boyfriend as they try to salvage their relationship and I truly hope it works out for them.

When Cheryl moved to the US, rumours circulated that she was under pressure to remain single and come across as a sassy girl about town. If that was the case, then it was never going to work. We can all see that Cheryl is happiest when she is in a full-time relationship and utterly miserable when it doesn’t work out (remember her distress on the Piers Morgan’s show when he questioned her about the breakdown of her marriage to Ashley Cole?). She’s so not into playing the singles scene; she loved being Mrs Cole;

Cheryl is known for wearing her heart on her sleeve. There is an authenticity to her; she says it as it is. Was that part of the problem in America? I do wonder how she would have dealt with the machinations of the Hollywood scene with its ‘watch your back’ mentality. Not her cup of tea. Did she simply refuse to play the game? Or could it be that, for whatever reason, she just didn’t ‘click’ with the American audience in the auditions? If that’s the case, then Simon will have realised that there was no chance of persuading the American television networks to take a risk with her on the live shows.

When Cheryl lost her American X Factor role, Dannii tweeted her support saying,          “Judging roles should come with a life jacket, drop down oxygen and a life raft”, before signing off, “Sending #Channii love.”

Maybe ‘Channii’ should look upon their exit from the X Factor as a lucky escape. If being on the programme means having to sacrifice their happiness or ditch their personal values, then it’s not for them. We’re not dealing with commodities here; we’re talking about living, breathing people. And real people have an annoying habit of letting emotions get in the way of any great business deal.

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