I was never much of an American Idol fan, because it seemed too scripted and predictable. However, I've been repeatedly fascinated by Cowell's Britain's Got Talent series because it casts a wider net. It might be a cell phone salesman singing a magnificent Puccini aria, an 80 year old great grandmother singing a classic french hit, or a hausfrau performing a beautiful song from Les Miserables, you get a broader selection of music, from a broader selection of contestants (not everyone is good looking and between 20 and 26). It's much more interesting, repeatedly. It's much more a show of ordinary people with extraordinary talent - something that American Idol never really had.
The latest is a shy young woman who had such a case of stage fright that she didn't even tell her family that she was going to the audition, not wanting to "let them down" if she failed. She killed on My Funny Valentine.
An ordinary person, not aware of just what an extraordinary talent she had. This is what Britain's Got Talent does better than anything here, and that is Simon Cowell's fingerprint. I don't watch American Idol, but I keep my eyes open for these. The story is always interesting and usually inspiring.
* OK, maybe not always a genius: Cowell to propose to pregnant mistress. At least he's doing the Honorable thing.