The music entertainment business is a massive industry. Its growth has only been accelerated by the decision to merge talent scouting with reality television, creating a situation where those with talent come to the industry rather than the industry going to them. This has benefits for the viewer in that we get to bask in the glory of those talented enough to be accepted into the running, and get a laugh out of the tone deaf that attempt to launch a career from screaming. Further to this, the music industry is allowed to not simply find a singer with talent, but promote that singer with an established fan base, because you, the viewing public, voted for him or her. Honestly though, it’s a case of picking the best of a bad bunch, and in some case ‘surprise eliminations’ remove the talented singer you were rooting for. Worse still, it seems the judges are in the news more than the contestants these days.
Case in point, this week American Idol announced Scotty McCreery as the tenth season winner, while the X-Factor announced that Cheryl Cole had been booted from the judging panel and replaced with Nicole Scherzinger. It’s telling that The Voice remains out of the spot light, but I guess they’re hoping no news is good news. While I’m sure there are many blogs out there debating Scotty McCreery’s recent success with such questions as, ‘was he the best of the competition?’ (No), ‘Was he better than Lauren Alaina? (No) and ‘Can he live up to the success if previous American Idol winners such as Kelly Clarkson or David Cook?’ (No), this blog isn’t about to join that debate. Instead, Cheryl Cole will be the topic of discussion.
So Cheryl Cole was ousted from the American X-Factor, no big deal, right? That’s actually true, as far as news stories go, Scotty McCreery winning American Idol stands head and shoulders above poor Cheryl Cole’s Geordie accent not being understood by millions of Americans, and yet for some reason, a lot of people are acting as though it is yet another slight against Britain’s Sweetheart. People seem to forget that this is a job, music is a business and in all fairness, Cole just isn’t that popular. It was said that it was America’s loss, but what are they losing? Cole has had five UK singles, only two of which achieved number one, and her last solo single, ‘The Flood’ only managed to hit number 18. The only other European country that Cole has reached number one, since 2009, is in the neighbouring Ireland, and even at that, ‘The Flood’ failed even more spectacularly at 26th. A brief glance at her discography would have told anyone that Cheryl Cole wasn’t going to be an immediate success in a country outside of the UK.
The question that then must be asked is why she’s popular in the UK, and not elsewhere. The answer seems to be two-fold, split between sympathy and some sort of Geordie fascination that’s taken hold. The sympathy seems mostly generated from the fact that Ashley Cole cheated on her at least twice between 2006 and 2008. They powered through, like the brave pair they are…only for it to be revealed that he slept with five other women and Cheryl subsequently filed for divorce, and creating a great deal of irony over her first single ‘Fight for this Love’. Worse was still to come as she contracted Malaria after a trip to Tanzania. So we’ve been buying her songs to compensate for her horrible decisions with men and injections, I guess. She’s like a little bird with a broken wing that we crowded around to coo over before tossing it to the cats to eat; the cats being the Americans in this picture because honestly that’s how they come off in this scenario. Of course that’s not entirely true because in the face of Rihanna’s domestic abuse case Americans weren’t indifferent; they just shunned Chris Brown instead. Maybe that’s our problem, instead of laying on the pity and branding her ‘Britain’s Sweetheart’, we should have just stopped watching Ashley Cole every time he ran onto a football pitch. Chelsea would have been fired him pretty quickly when the only fans in stadiums were the fans for the other team.
However, perhaps here in the UK, our favour has fallen on Cheryl Cole for another reason: the Geordie accent. There has been a recent surge in appreciation for the accent, accumulating in the Jersey Shore spin-off called Geordie Shore. Apart from the terrible name and being the most cringe worthy show since Made in Chelsea, it explains why Cheryl Cole has received as much attention as she already has, and in all seriousness, unless she wants to join the cast of Geordie Shore, it’d be most beneficial for her to return to the British X-Factor. How else can she remain in the spotlight, unless she attempts to challenge Britney Spears for the shortest time married? Cheryl Cole isn’t nearly as talented as say, Adele, nor is she as wacky as Lady Gaga. Beyoncé had one of the best post girl-band careers of all time, and as I’ve already stated, Rihanna already played the pity party and made much more success off of it than Cheryl Cole can hope to. She needs to return to the British X-Factor and reclaim her spot a judge before J-Lo takes over the role of ‘Judge with the least useful criticism’.
Rather than paint a target on her back though, I actually want to address why she was fired from the judging panel rather than anyone else, because I don’t believe it’s solely due to the accent. News reports have stated that another reason for her dismissal was conflict with Paula Abdul. This might seem pretty minor but on a show where not only do viewers have to connect with judges but the judges themselves have to link well, both in terms of entertainment and backstage, this seems like it would certainly be a concern. Once the issue had been flagged, someone in head office would have been required to make the decision to fire either Paula Abdul or Cheryl Cole. On an American show like this and with no established fanbase, Cheryl Cole is certainly going to get the boot before Paula Abdul. X-Factor is no stranger to this kind of conflict, due to a similar incident on the British version between Sharon Osbourne and Danni Minogue. This is just business, and Cheryl Cole’s reaction to shun the program altogether is just childish.
Thus, I move to propose a new candidate for Britain’s Sweetheart: Hugh Laurie. The man is multi-talented from comedy to drama, acting to music, piano to guitar and many others he’s probably only too shy to showcase. As for launching his American career, Hugh Laurie didn’t even have to try; he auditioned for House M.D. and his accent, and acting, was so good that executive producer Bryan Singer hailed him as a brilliant American actor. If House gets cancelled anytime soon, perhaps Hugh Laurie should consider a place on the X-Factor judging panel. He’s got my vote.