Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Be careful what you wish for...

As this year's mixed-up miscreants prepare to stand in-front of Simon Cowell and sing for their supper, it might be worth considering the contract they sign if they're lucky enough to go through to the next stage.

I've written before about the sad sacks who refused to believe that a lack of votes or public interest was any barrier to a successful career in music. Despite the fact that it was a combination of pity, sympathy and good old-fashioned mockery that kept them in the competition in the first place, they seemed to expect Simon Cowell to feel personally obliged to give them an enduring career.

Bitter also-rans are one thing, but what of the people who actually win these televised talent tournaments? Well, if teenage hoofer and Britain's Got Talent winner George Sampson is to be believed, coming first isn't that much better.

He's lashed out at Cowell, accusing him of pocketing the majority of the royalties from his best-selling DVD Access 2 All Areas (which sounds like a 'specialist' title if ever there was one), and leaving him actually owing money. Showing all the worldy insight and maturity one would expect of a sixteen year-old from Warrington, he's furious that Simon has prioritised his other acts. Especially since, in George's words, "I thought we were tight."

Maybe they were tight, and Simon is sulking in his bedroom too, fingering a well-worn friendship bracelet and listening to Blink 182. Matters aren't helped any by the fact that the ungrateful little upstart also criticised Cowell for only getting him Harrods vouchers for his 16th birthday, whereas Alexandra Burke received an expensive handbag for her 21st. Wars have been started over lesser slights.

The worrying thing is, George claims "I've just found out that Simon's company takes 90 per cent of the revenue." It's a little late in the day to start scrutinising the small print once your wish has been granted. Besides which, expressing surprise that Cowell's management company would have the kind of cast-iron contracts that only a faked death could break, seems a little disingenuous. It's like a young starlet saying "Well, I hitched up my skirt and lay down on the casting couch, but I didn't think anyone would fuck me."

Ultimately, the contestants line up for these shows knowing full well what they're getting themselves into. It's only once the ink has dried and they discover that even dreams have practical boundaries, that they start pushing for a bigger piece of the pie. I believe it's called looking a gift-horse in the veneers.

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