The Five: Simon Says
I was watching American Idol last night (okay, I admit it, it's my secret guilty pleasure). In between admiring a couple of the singers - Ace, Taylor, and Chris (oh yeah, bald guys do it for me) and cringing over others (WHAT the heck was up with that performance by David Radford? He looked like an epileptic Elvis! And don't get me started on Bobby Bennett's gut-churning rendition of "Copa Cobana"! My eyes and ears haven't recovered from that one yet), I focused on my favorite part of American Idol - Simon. Yes, Simon can be a tad acerbic at times, he occasionally dabbles in sarcasm, but he's still my fave of the three judges, and here are five reasons why.
5. Paula is just too damn nice. Sorry, but sometimes, the truth hurts. If you really suck, isn't it better to have someone tell you so, than to have some pansy-wansy nice girl sugarcoating how bad you really are? If you're writing a book or a screenplay, you don't ask people who LIKE you what they think of it. Paula too often act likes everybody's mom, overlooking minor details like pitchiness and performance and nauseatingly focusing on the positive - "I just really, really like you! Really!" Simon's like your rude drunk uncle - he's the one person in the family who will straightforwardly tell you if your butt really does look fat in those red velvet pants. And don't we all need that kind of candor every now and then?
4. Randy wants to be everybody's friend. Yo, what's up with that, dawg? Any parent can tell you - you can't be your kids' best friends, you know what I'm sayin'? The Idol judges have to be able to give the tough love, and whenever Randy has to do that, you can just see him cringe inside. Simon doesn't give a crap if anyone likes him or not; consequently, his opinion is the one they really value. Which brings us to...
3. Honesty. As Billy Joel sang, it's such a lonely word. Everybody hates Simon (or at least pretends to hate him) because he's the one judge who's honest and uncompromising in his opinions. Does he care that the audience boos him? Nope. Flinch when Seacrest gets snarky and encourages hapless saps like poor Kevin Covais to get mouthy? Heck, no. He puts it on the line, puts up with Paula's whining and even her smacking him around, and still says exactly what he thinks. And, guess what?
2. Simon is almost always right. I don't care how much the Idols' friends and relations roll their eyes or boo, how much the audience hisses at Simon for what he says - facts are facts, kids. If Simon says you're off pitch, dude, you're off pitch. If Simon says you sound like a second-rate karaoke performer, or someone who should be performing in a cruise ship lounge, guess what? You do. Simon catches the subtler nuances of performances that Randy and Paula miss when they're so busy trying to be all cool and hip and shakin' their booties and clapping along. The good news though, is that if Simon thinks you rocked the house, you can rest assured you did. Because whose opinion really matters?
1. Simon's opinion is the one that matters. That's right. Watch the contestants and the audience. Sure, they listen and hoot and holler when Randy and Paula heap on the praise. But Simon is the one whose opinion everyone's on the edge of their seats to hear, contestants especially. They may not like it when what Simon says hurts, but they darn sure know he's the one they can count on to tell it like it is, and he's the judge they all want most to please. Because when Simon says you're good, kid -- you can take that one to the bank.