Words: Andrea Zanin
Illustration: Fleur Beech

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat,
Please to put a penny in Simon Cowell’s hat.

Forget bells, baubles and brandy sauce… the star that guides contemporary Christmas into place is none other than the gaudy grin on Simon Cowell’s face; imposing itself on our screens, infiltrating our minds, berating our brains with its smug sense of supercilious satisfaction, it begs our attention with neither scruples nor shame.

It’s Cowell’s signature cockiness that reminds us to get cracking with the gifts, to make the mince pies and to stock up on the sherry. No matter how hard we try, we cannot circumvent the music mogul’s magnanimous presence. In style similar to the preceding 10 series, X-factor has crept into consciousness with a stealthy quiet atypical to the average beast. Blink for a second and already January has become September and as the leaves swirl and fall in preparation for winter that Cheshire Cat smile manoeuvres a Christmas single into spot with machiavellian mastery.

They say that it was a wise man who followed the star. Perhaps, it was a wise man who wielded the star. And, honestly, who can resist when that star is entertainment?

As the leaves swirl and fall in preparation for winter that Cheshire Cat smile manoeuvres a Christmas single into spot with machiavellian mastery

There’s nothing quite like sitting down, after a hard week’s work – the kids in bed, with a glass (or three) of red and the squealing and squawking of would-be pop stars. Admit it. It’s got something to do with somebody else’s woes making the moment’s mishaps seem fabulously insignificant. So what if your son demolished the neighbor’s prize-winning rose bush so that he could use the thorny stems as part of an army base shield at the bottom of the garden, and now your neighbour not only thinks you’re the world’s most inattentive mother alive but you have to replace the cursed rose bush and who has time to garden these days?

Who cares if you have ten meetings, seven deadlines, your partner’s away and you have to do the school run plus swimming, gymnastics and music all by yourself? Really – who? So, the hairdresser heard “cut it all off” when you actually said “I look terrible with short hair and so I’d just like a trim, thanks” and now you look terrible. What’s the big deal? Loads of people look terrible… and Simon Cowell just told a group of chicks that they sound “like three little kittens who’ve been abandoned.” (Awesome.)

He also told one dude that his performance was “like eating water – You feel nothing afterwards.” Seriously. Other than contemplating the logistics of chewing down on some San Pellegrino (apparently something people are doing these days) laughing at the misfortune of others, true to human nature, is great fun. Cowell’s grin sells catharsis. It costs a bit of soul but it’s worth it. Right?

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