Simon Cowell Losing His Touch?

Shannon Livewell

Simon Cowell is the brain behind most reality competitions. After his success with X Factor, American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent, and others, one would believe that nothing could stop this dynamite trend of high ratings. On March 24, 2012, however, Britain’s Got Talent lost a significant number of its ratings to the UK version of The Voice. The shows premiered on the same night, and according to The Daily Mail, there was a brief 20-minute time frame where the two programs overlapped. During this overlap, The Voice secured 2.4 million more viewers than Britain’s Got Talent. This proved that if given the option, more people would prefer to watch The Voice rather than its reality competitor.

Many believe that this is just a direct result of Cowell “losing his touch” when it comes to creating reality television. His blunt criticism as a judge on the first season of American Idol instantly led to fame for Cowell in the United States. This new fame made him the most watchable person in television history. Every great run, however, must come to an end. The US, as well as the UK, will eventually get bored with the same old idea. As human beings, both audiences crave something new and exciting, something a bit unpredictable. All current ratings are indicating that audiences in both the US and the UK have been tuning into The Voice, more than the traditional singing competition shows because it is simply the only other alternative, and contestants are judged solely on their voice rather than their appearance as well.

This isn’t the first time Cowell’s delivered anticlimactic results compared to his opposing competition. Before The X Factor premiered in the USA in 2011, Cowell promised Fox he would deliver 20 million viewers, but fell severely short when he acquired a mere12.1 million viewers during the premiere.

The numbers indicate the public is no longer looking for judges to just spout off insults and rude remarks to singers. The viewers are looking for something that offers a creative spin on the “star search” process. They don’t just want to see aspiring musicians lifted up so high only to be degraded in front of America for one wrong note. The Voice offers a new alternative where aspiring artists are simply judged on their talent, and if the answer is no, it is simply because they had an off day vocally. There is never rudeness while judging, or embarrassment places upon the vocalist just for the sake of entertaining an audience.

In an interview with Extra last February, Cowell was questioned if he feels threatened by all of this newfound competition. Cowell responded,  “I would ask how many records have they made, how many artists have they discovered? It’s very important that you have people on the panel that have actually signed and made artists successful all over the world, not just have made hit records yourself.”

Though Cowell may speak the truth about being able to create a more successful artist if you have the experience to do so, he also must face the facts that his numbers are declining on the popularity charts. This could be because viewers are simply craving a change, or Cowell could solely be losing his touch.