Simon Cowell On Susan Boyle, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’: ‘I’ve Made Mistakes’
First Published: June 21, 2009 1:18 PM EDT Credit: Getty Images
LONDON, U.K. -- Simon Cowell wants to set the record straight.
In a letter to the Daily Mail on Saturday, the “American Idol” and “Britain’s Got Talent” judge weighed in on the controversies the UK show, which gained a worldwide audience via YouTube this year, has inspired.
“You can’t complain when people turn the tables and criticize you. And I don’t,” Simon, famous for his barbs toward contestants, wrote before saying that this year has been an exception to the rule.
“There has never been a spectacle quite like the latest series of ‘Britain’s Got Talent,’” he wrote, naming Susan Boyle’s “difficulties” and 10-year-old Hollie Steel’s on-air breakdown as subjects that have drawn criticism. “I, of course, am inevitably portrayed as the evil ringmaster. The time has finally come for me to set a few things straight.”
First, he addressed the children.
“You just can’t imagine how awful it was, sitting in my judge’s chair, watching 10-year-old Hollie Steel star to cry in front of millions as she struggled to remember the lines of her song,” he wrote. “Oh God, it was terrible. So I decided to let her come back later in the show to sing again – ironically, I have had more complaints about Hollie being allowed to perform twice than anything else in the show.
“Yet, perhaps my biggest regret of this year was… with Aidan Davis, the 11-year-old street dancer from Birmingham,” he continued. “In the final, I made him cry, too, by describing his performance as lackluster – it was a huge, huge mistake. It almost ruined the whole evening for everyone. Looking back, I know I could’ve been kinder.”
And as for Susan Boyle, the Scottish singer who has captured the world’s attention but has had troubles dealing with the pressures of fame, Simon also said he could’ve done things better.
“It has become clear to me that we didn’t handle the situation with Susan as well as we could have,” Simon continued.
He wrote that he didn’t expect Susan to become a global sensation, thinking upon meeting her that she was “a bit eccentric and certainly a character.”
But after Susan’s performance of “I Dreamed A Dream,” seen on YouTube millions of times, things changed – and Susan wasn’t ready for it.
“She seemed fine with the attention,” Simon wrote, but as they approached the finals, things became more difficult. “The pressure and her nerves were beginning to get the better of her. So I said, ‘Make sure she has a friend with her all the time. Make sure she has any help that she needs.’”
And asking her just before the final how she was, Susan told him she was “fine.”
But after she lost to dance group Diversity, Simon said it was “a bad moment” for Susan.
Now, with the Scottish singer having missed several dates on the “Britain’s Got Talent” tour, the judge said there are “still ups and downs.”
“But when she does perform, I am thrilled by the reception she gets,” he said. “Whatever happens in the weeks ahead, I will continue to support her.
“Moral of the story?” he concluded. “I don’t always get it right.”
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