Here's how it happened, right. I was at the Ivy last night when Cowell comes over to say hello. He's looking a bit glum so I say "How's it going?" and he suddenly looks a bit pale. Perhaps his belt is constricting blood flow to his heart. Luckily there's a spare seat opposite (my date didn't show up) so Cowell sits down slowly and gently cradles his gigantic, topiaried head in his hands. "It's not great." He looks up slowly and I can see that there are tears in his eyes. "The thing is... Panto," he's staring at me quite intently now; I try to disguise my surprise at him calling me Panto. "It's the finalists, Panto. Something's got to be done about the finalists."
I appreciate the reference to Back to the Future II, and am sympathetic to his concerns. I tell him if we could just get a time machine and a different actress to play Jennifer, for some reason, then we might just be able to save this show. He says the BTTF reference was just rhetoric and I shouldn't take things so literally. His eyes dry now, he checks his phone - although I'm sure it didn't ring. He has to leave, suddenly. Apparently "something came up".
Oh and in case anyone's still reading, The Mirror carries a more dull, more true version of story today. Here's what Mr C "really" said about the final 12...
What Cowell really said (and not to Panto):
"I think we could be heading for a train wreck," - a reference to the first live studio shows. He's a bit sick of everyone moaning that this year's bunch aren't as good as last year's... in particular 2006 winner Leona Lewis.
"The Leona thing is clouding everyone's thoughts," he sighs. "But if you take Leona out of the equation, they weren't that good last year. As a whole, we've probably got the most talented 12 we've had. We just haven't had the chance to showcase them properly yet."-->
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