Simon has always been brutally honest. Oprah say that he has always just been himself. He says that he has a few regrets about the things that he has said, when he hasn’t known the back story behind the situation. Most people say that Simon says out loud what they are thinking. Oprah says that people say that he has a big ego and is out of control and arrogant while others say that he is warm and generous. She asks which is the real Simon. He says that he is a combination of the two, of course he has an ego and ambition, he has to.
Oprah asks Simon, in an English accent, to pour some tea. Oprah has Earl Grey, like the Queen drinks, and Simon drinks PG Tips. He drinks it every day with scones and cucumber sandwiches. He says that it calms him. Simon has been single for along time, but he and Idol make-up artist Mezhgan Hussainy have recently revealed that they are in a relationship and she looks to be sporting an engagement ring. He says that he has never been good in relationships, although he is friends with all his exes. Never before has he thought that he’ll be with only one person. Oprah thought that he was never the marrying kind. Simon says that he is quite weird and selfish. He needs time alone to think and works all night long. Oprah says that he can’t have a high-maintenance kind of woman. Simon says that all women are a little high maintenance. Oprah says that he needs someone independent enough to have their own life or to be happy by themselves. He says that his work can become like a girlfriend- he’ll view tapes from 10pm then at midnight he’ll call London and these conversations will continue till 4am. He says that it would drive him mad, he couldn’t deal with himself. His girlfriend suggests conference calls, but he doesn’t like that idea so he’ll have the same conversations over and over with different producers. Oprah asks if he wants kids and he says that he worries about it because of his age. He’s fifty, his Dad used to play soccer and games with him as a child. Oprah says that 50 is the new 40, and he is strong and fit and healthy. Oprah asks if he has the patience and ability to sacrifice what you have to in order to be a good parent. He said he would if the child was born at 5 years old. He likes them when they can talk and know what’s going on all around them. He does like kids when he can talk to them, he genuinely likes them. Oprah asks if his girlfriend has softened him and helped him see the world differently. Yes, but his year has been full of up and down moments. He is moody, and gets very dark and down. Like a bear in a cave, he wishes that he could hibernate. It can last days or weeks. Oprah asks if its depression and he says yes. He then says he shouldn’t take himself too seriously but also that he shouldn’t put on a painted smile. He feels drained by all the people who depend on him. He would never take a pill to deal with it. He gives himself a mental slap and tries to get on with that. He says that to go out and pretend everything is fine is the beginning of madness.
Simon Cowell is one of the richest and most powerful people in entertainment. He has a major stake in Britain’s got Talent, America’s Got Talent, India’s Got Talent, Slovakia’s Got Talent… the list goes on and on. Then there’s the X-Factor franchise, those 2 dozen shows are also his. Beyond the TV shows, Simon has worked a deal that every artist who gets a start on one of his shows, signs to his label, which is worth a reported 1 billion dollars. Oprah says that everyone thinks this great thing happened in his life, but he has made some serious mistakes. He lost everything and had to move in with his parents when he was 30- he’d had a Porsche, the lifestyle, the credit cards,- the whole lot came crashing down because he believed his own hype. Oprah shows a photo of Simon when he was younger, and he agrees that it is not a very good look, and he wasn’t even a mechanic. He reads a letter that he wrote to his younger self saying that he was the cliché of 80’s excess. He was overconfident and far too cocky and dressed in labels, but it hadn’t occurred to him that he couldn’t afford any of that stuff. He says that he was an untouchable Jack the Lad but it was all borrowed, it was all nothing and it all came crashing down. He had literally nothing except a half a million loan that he had to repay. It was based on hype not substance. Oprah quotes that not being in debt is better than having nothing.
He missed nothing, it took 3 or 4 years to pay off the loans and in a weird way it was one of the happiest times of his life, having no responsibility. Then he was ready to start again. He never imagined that he would have this level of success. He says that he and a partner in business realized that they have been really lucky. He believes in luck a little bit. Oprah says that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Oprah says that he learned from his mistakes and prepared himself better and when the moment of opportunity came along he was ready. Simon says that maybe he was lucky that he didn’t remain an idiot. Oprah grants him that. She asks how he can be lucky when he works so hard? She says that it had to happen, he had to lose everything to be able to build it up again. He says that he is superstitious, and that if what happened to him had happened in his thirties he would have unravelled.
Oprah asks how he knows that he has spotted a star and who he spotted immediately. He says that the best examples are Carrie Underwood and Fantasia. With Carrie it was like everyone else was in black and white and she was in color. With Fantasia it was slightly different as she is so likeable and is not afraid of being emotional It is so difficult to define, you can only hope you can recognize it. On the day that Susan Boyle came on he was so bored and he judged the book by its cover. He judged her from the way she walked on, and he was so not interested and the audience were the same. And then she started to sing, and they thought they’d got it all wrong. When they played the tape back it was a wake up call and he hated himself as they were all judging and snearing. He was happy that she gave them that wake-up call.
Oprah asks why he is leaving to do another talent show. He believes that he can find one person and make them into a star and he is doing it here as that is where the best singers are. Oprah asks how it makes him feel when American Idol stars totally succeed. He says that it’s a process and that if they didn’t succeed then the Idol machine would be failing. It reminds him why they make the shows in the first place. Oprah asks what his real intention is? He actually likes doing it, for 3 minutes when Fantasia sings Summertime, for 3 minutes he lost himself. He loves to be part of the buzz, it was great TV.
Oprah asks if he worries about his success and the competition from Idol. Yes, but he is making a show that he would like to watch. If he was staying with Idol he would do things differently, but he won’t say what they are. The new show is different because there is no upper age limit, a sixty year old could enter the show. It is for over 14 year olds and groups can enter. He is excited about it, he has no idea whether it will work, but the success is judged on whether they find a star and he is confident that they will.
The final night of Idol he thinks will be quite emotional, but he has had a great time over here and he has discovered that Brits and Americans have the same sense of humor and that we laugh at the same things. Oprah says that we are all more alike than we are different, that’s for sure.
Whatever is popular on TV will be their competition- Simon can only approach it by making the best show he can do, and if people don’t like it there is nothing that he can do about it. Oprah says that if she was a betting woman she would bet on him. Simon thanks him for everything and says that she has been a good friend over the years. They hold hands and he winks at her.
Everybody is talking about this, says Oprah. It is the most delightful and heartwarming movie, Babies. Its like one of those fascinating nature films, tracking the first year of four babies around the world. It has been called mesmerizing, irresistible and a rare unfiltered cinematic experience. It celebrates the miracle of life of four infants making their way through their first year in Mongolia, Namibia, Japan and the United States. The director spent nearly two years flying from country to country capturing many firsts- smiles, haircuts, frustration. For hours at a time he’d set up his cameras and wait. There’s no narration or subtitles, just babies interacting with their very different environments. Fantastic, says Oprah. Thomas Balmés is the director who captured these moments which Oprah recommends all pregnant women to watch. Oprah says that she initially wanted to be the American baby in the jumper but by the end the African baby in the wilderness had many advantages. Oprah asks about the cows coming towards the baby, no one intervened. The mother was cool so the director was cool. He almost never interfered. He selected the families by looking for four sets of loving parents, a baby’s needs are fulfilled by any environment as long as there is love, The Namibian mother cleans the baby’e eyes with her teeth and shaves her hair with a knife. The commonality is love, says Oprah.
This documentary will lift your spirits says Oprah, you can take anyone to see it. Little Haddie was one of the babies who is now 4 years old. She joins them by Skype from Oakland. Her parents liked it and were really happy to be part of it, it exceeded their expectations. They were moved by the other moms seeing the similarities and differences. Oprah says that she wanted to be Haddie who had everything initially but then seeing the other kids with their sticks and bowls she changed her mind. The mom says that it is neat to see how all kids interact with their environment. Oprah thanks them and congratulates Thomas.
Oprah asks Simon Cowell to sign the No Phone Zone Pledge which makes him her American Idol. He signs. Oprah says that there are bumper stickers and keychains and so on at Oprah.com. Take the pledge at Oprah.com. Bye everybody.
WHAT WE LEARNED TODAY:
Simon Cowell says that he is quite weird and selfish.
Oprah says that 50 is the new 40
Simon says that to go out and pretend everything is fine when he is depressed is the beginning of madness.
Oprah says that there is no such thing as luck, what is needed is great preparation and a moment of opportunity.
A baby’s needs are fulfilled by any environment as long as there is love.
A VERY QUICK SUMMARY:
Oprah says that we are all more alike than we are different. Brits and Americans. Babies of the world.