Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I was all set to write about Simon Cowell, American Idol Judge and show maker. He's fifty. He has a live-in girl friend and he's said, and she's said, "We're engaged. I counted 29 projects -- "names" in music that he's launched, television shows he's created, and companies he's formed.

He left school early and did menial jobs -- he was a runner for Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" movie for awhile; his Dad pulled strings, and Simon got a job in the mailroom of BMI, the giant music publisher.

Daddy was a successful music biz exec, Mom a ballet dancer, grandparents were English Jewish and Scottish. He has one brother and two half brothers. He grew in the music business, and around twenty-one, with his "arts" sensitivity, started making it -- creating, conceiving ideas, selling them, earning money, succeeding.

I know the story from his face and manner. And the list of companies and projects he's been involved with confirms what I see and sense in him.

Cowell knows what works. He senses what the other person is -- performer, money-maker, go-getter, loser or winner, needy or a too-needy dreamer.

He knows in a flash. And yet, he watches, listens, reacts and knows when he's wrong. That's a talent, or ... actually, it's a gift -- yes, a beneficence that comes from identifying with, understanding, and momentarily becoming the person whom he's observing. It's a gentleness, kindness -- sweetness.

When a performer "bombs" -- (and many, many would-be "Idols" have no talent, bad taste, an unrealistic view of themselves), he tells the person straight-out that his voice or his performance is not good. It can sound cruel, and often the devastated performer feels Cowell is mean, impatient, even nasty. But the opposite is true -- he is being kind.

Simon just tells the truth.

How do I know? I know because I'm a "know" person -- it takes one to know one. It's not easy sometimes, to say truthfully what you feel, and in show business -- be it music, dance, theater, art, or any aspect of the "Fame" business, if you are a knower, people who don't know admire you, love you-hate you, but are intensely interested in hearing what you have to say.

I like Simon Cowell. I don't think he's ever mean or cruel. He's an attractive man, with a readable, open face. He doesn't beat around the bush. He knows the market, the audience, and all that's involved in creating ... whatever ... an "Idol," an inventor, a best-seller gimmick, a program kids will love, or a super-star.

And this guy knows all the off-stage crafts -- costume, lighting, makeup, music arrangements, choreography, diction-talking-hosting, as well negotiating -- money, contracts, publicity, and futurizing (figuring what to do with a property in the various tangible and intangible ways).

Yes, he's creating a new X Factor show about the X -- that indefinable, mysterious, amazing, extra something in a talented person, that makes a winner.

No, I'm not a fan. I'm not following him on Facebook, or Twitter. Com. This is a rave because (like I said), it takes one to know one.

I KNOW Mr. Simon Cowell has it -- the X power.
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