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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

030 Cowell Factor

Is Paula Abdul really about to leave American Idol? And will Cheryl Cole take her place? Once again….I go in search of the truth.

So what’s been happening in Cowell world?…Well, as Simon gets ready to celebrate his 50th birthday bash - the tabloids claim he’s invited along 17 old girlfriends. Well, clearly 12 girls will have to be picked from central casting – ‘cause he’s only ever had 5 girlfriends - but boy…are they lucky girls or what?

One not so lucky girl - Paula Abdul is said to be not returning to the Idol judging panel - and Cheryl Cole is to replace her. Such Bullshit! Want the truth? Well, Simon tells me of course Paula WILL be back - along with all the judges. And Cheryl Cole? Well…She just loves publicity.

Meanwhile, with the X Factor live auditions already in the can - Simon is busy recording the boot camp section of the show - at a secret location - and judging by the recent shots of his red face - not very far from a beach.

And does anyone care about Susan Boyle anymore - well, President Obama does because he rescheduled his news conference to allow Susan to air her interview (and funny makover) on the today show.

What a circus!!! But I can reveal that Susan’s first single will be a cover of the Oscar winning song Moon River. Can’t wait. Ok I can.

So…back to reality -I kick down the door to the Fame Games talent bank and this week I’m so excited as I’ve just received a copy of the new Stars Go Dim album. The title track, Love Gone Mad really does prove why this band is so popular - these guys can definitely write hit songs.

I’m also kinda intrigued by a band of girls called Chix 6. But listen, I really love the song In Your Pocket. This could be one hot single.

So here’s the thing...The nominees for this years Mercury Music Prize were announced this week - and for those of you in America - The Mercury Award is given to the best album from Britain and Ireland. It’s often seen as the classiest award as it celebrates lesser known bands; and has a reputation of awarding to outside chances rather than the favourites. It’s about quality - over sales. Wow! Now that is rare.

Last years winner Elbow were, in my opinion, a deserved winner - not just because I love their music but because for me they symbolised every hard working band not prepared to give up. It took Elbow 15 years to a) get signed to a label prepared to put some marketing muscle behind them and b) spent those long years in the wilderness honing their stage craft to build a huge following.
But I couldn’t help but wonder….are any of this years nominees actually any better than the talent we have here on Fame Games?

The list of twelve nominees - which tend to see a huge boost in sales as a result of inclusion, does contain some well known names - notably Casaybean, Bat for lashes and Florence and the machine - but the rest is made up of obscure hopefuls who all stand a chance of winning - or at least gaining a wider audience.

And what I like about the Mercury prize is there is always a quirky unknown act who have sold absolutely zilch to date. And this year its folk band Sweet Billy Pilgrim's album Twice Born Men which, by the way…… was recorded by three session musicians on a laptop in a garden shed. So…it goes without saying that I’ll be rooting for them to win.

But I guess it’s not always just about how many records you sell - or how much money you make – it’s about how you gain recognition - like Elbow last year – it’s about success or failure - and nobody likes the “f” word - do they? So be patient.

I constantly moan about how blind and deaf some record labels can be - but when you do find the right level of support - when you get the right management on board - who are prepared to back you - and keep pushing you forward - then you always have hope - and god knows you need hope in this business.

So - as a kind of prophecy - here’s my own list of nominees for next year’s Mercury Prize

Beta Rays
Two Spot Gobi
Killer Heels
After the Ice
The Sanderson Pitch
Oliver Piggot
Richard O’Brian
Kissing Freddie
Mark Abis

I’m Tony Cowell - and you’ve just heard….. the Cowell Factor.

The Cowell Factor

If you've only got ONE shot at FAME you might as well get it right!!

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