Monday, February 22, 2010

Cloning Cowell

My op-ed from Saturday's Evening Herald on news that Simon Cowell might be getting hitched at last...

WE knew it – the X-Factor’s Simon Cowell is just a big softie underneath it all. A ‘close pal’ has been telling newspaper reporters that Mr Grumpy has gotten engaged to his artist girlfriend. Not only that, but he is thought to have popped the question on Valentine’s Day during a romantic dinner.

Hold on one candy-coloured moment: dinner a deux, Valentine’s Day, a £250,000 diamond ring? That’s quite the leap from three years ago when Cowell tut-tutted at the “commerciality” of February 14. “I am not conventional,” he said back then. “I don’t do holding hands and cuddling up in front of the TV. I find things like Valentine’s Day ridiculous, being forced to be romantic on a certain day.”

Would you get him – “not conventional”. I bet he had a team of violinists serenading the ‘lucky’ lady, make-up artist Mezghan Husseiny, and I bet he went down on one knee for good measure.

Mind you, he also said repeatedly that he would never, ever get married. This is truly a momentous occasion. Simon Cowell, the man who thinks he’s always right, admits he may have been wrong.

Even if he’d never vowed to stay a bachelor, news of the engagement is surprising. (Not least to ex-girlfriend Terri Seymour, whom he was with for six of the years in which he was banging on about his wedding phobia). Who would ever have thought that Simon Cowell could love someone more than he loves Simon Cowell. If he was an ice-cream, he’d lick himself to death.

Could it be that turning 50 last year is what did it for Simon? His birthday party was like a particularly debauched stag night, complete with half-naked dancing girls, magnums of champagne and baby sharks swimming in tanks in the toilets. There isn’t much to do after a blow-out like that except get married.

A sense of mortality gets to us all at some stage. Something has certainly pierced Cowell’s armour and – oh dear, God – could it be love? Perhaps this is his version of a midlife crisis. He already has the garage full of trophy cars, so it’s no good splashing out on a firebox-red penile extension. He has to find another way to rebel.

Or maybe Cowell is more conventional than he would have us believe. He has said that his biggest fear of getting married had been the cost of getting divorced. What an old romantic. Now he’s talking of being “smitten” (and presumably, he has a good lawyer or seven who knows their way around a prenup).

But here’s the most telling revelation so far. In an upcoming TV interview, he tells Piers Morgan: “I think I need to have little Simons around.” So that’s it. Cowell’s ego demands that it’s time to start producing the future in his own image. Heavens preserve us all.

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