Simon Cowell 'puzzled' by The Voice

Simon Cowell The producer and TV star says he is "lucky, hard-working and weird"

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The X Factor's Simon Cowell says he is "puzzled" about why BBC One's The Voice is not on the radio instead of TV.

Cowell told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that if the BBC's show was "all about the voice" then "what's the point of looking at them?"

He also said it had become similar to The X Factor with its use of dancers and stage presentation.

The Voice's creation was a "roll your sleeves up" time for him, because it was competition for his shows, he said.

Cowell, who described himself as "lucky, hard-working and weird", said: "Suddenly I'm watching it a week, two weeks ago. It's the same as X Factor.

"You know, they've got dancers behind them. They've got graphics, lights. Same show."


Early on the success of The Voice - which is reported to have cost the BBC some £22m - in a ratings battle with Britain's Got Talent led to Cowell writing a congratulatory message to the BBC on Twitter.

But early in May, Britain's Got Talent triumphed in the ratings for two consecutive weeks.

He said: "When The Voice came along it's kind of like, 'roll your sleeves up, we're in for a bit of a punch-up here'.

"I'm smiling now because we're winning at the moment. I wasn't so happy three weeks ago. But not to the point of any silliness."

He said his attitude in response to the competition was: "OK. They are beating us. We've got to make our shows better.

"And that's all we did. We just tried our best to make them better."

Start Quote

I see a lot of shows trying to rip us off”

End Quote Simon Cowell

As to the allegation that his shows were like circuses which sought to exploit vulnerable people, Cowell told Today's James Naughtie: "I think what I've learned is, there are people who like to show off who aren't very good and I don't have a problem with that.

'Getting nervous'

"I think after Susan Boyle you can feel it around you on the show. Everyone is very, very, very more aware of whether this person is up for this or not. If we don't think they're tough enough they really aren't allowed to audition.

"But people do get through the net. But we don't sit there and go, 'let's try and find someone vulnerable and weak to exploit today to make fun of them.'

"You've got to also try to retain a balance and a sense of humour."

Mr Cowell, who says he sees "a lot of shows trying to rip us off", was then asked about his own future.

James Naughtie and Simon Cowell Cowell was interviewed by the Today programme's James Naughtie

"I'll know when it's time A, for me to leave the shows or B, not to make these shows anymore, simply because people won't be interested," he said.

"I'm not going to self-destruct."

And he was bullish about the success of his programmes, which also include American Idol.

"I'd like to know what is the alternative to what we put on at the moment as an entertainment show."

Yet Cowell did say that he had previously worried about the future of his shows when they had failed to find credible acts.

He said: "We had this conversation about two or three years ago where, with the exception of Leona Lewis, I was getting nervous.

"I thought, if we don't find real stars from these shows after all the razzmatazz, all the promises, all the hype and you end with somebody who's going to put out a single and then go away it's a waste of time, a waste of my time and everyone's time."

Mark Linsey, the BBC's controller of entertainment commissioning, has previously said: "I think other formats it's about the look, the shape of the person."

With regards to The Voice, he continued, "it's about whether you've got what it takes vocally."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    @Simonthepieman - totally agree. Most TV these days is nothing but uninspiring, unrealistic drivel - take the soaps for example. These talent shows are strung out so far that they become mini soap operas which bear little or no resemblance to real life

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    So the most talented person in Britain is a dog! Says it all really...


    Excellent comment! I'm still chuckling 10 minutes after reading it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    I don't understand how Simon Cowell can claim that The Voice is the same as X-Factor, yet X-Factor is different from Pop Idol. Such claims just undermine whatever integrity he has left in tact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    The Voice is far better than X-Factor. The judges don't take themselves to seriously and give them consturctive feedback. Not like the X-Factor where their all wanna be's or has beens that think quite alot of themselves!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Does Simon Cowell go under the knife in order to boost his chances of getting "romantically interests" from his female co-hosts?

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    "I thought, if we don't find real stars from these shows after all the razzmatazz, all the promises, all the hype... it's a waste of time, a waste of my time and everyone's time."

    Oh the irony. So that'll be Steve Brookstein, Shayne Ward, Leon Jackson, Joe McElderberry and Matt Cardle then, Mr Cowell....

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    I think brave of the BBC to take Cowell on, its not been a bad programme, but surely someone in the BBC could have come up with a similar idea instead of paying £22m for the rights?

    "right guys & girls, teas, custard creams and note pads, how can we make Simon Cowell look a bigger burke." Where is that British conviction...oh I forgot, we are the kings of outsource!

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    "I don't know why the BBC wastes its time trying to win a ratings war: ... It's not about numbers: it's about quality TV. ... "

    Sadly as the BBC has to depend on the licence fee, other funding and selling programmes abroad then ratings do have an importance as they still have to prove their shows are being watched.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    Is it just me or are Britains Got Talent, X Factor and the Voice a tastless, ruthless, cultural vaccum which makes money out the hopes and dreams of vulnerable people?

  • Comment number 169.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    Have you ever heard anything so bloody stupid in your life!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    BBC News reader "amazed" at what passes for news these days.

    Here's a tenner, guys - buy yourselves a grip.

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    Looking at it both shows and Cowell all under the same record company SONY! How does that figure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    What's up, Cowell bothered by the competition? I can honestly say I've never watched more than 5 mins of this rubbish at a time as I cannot believe anyone can take this peurile nonsense seriously. Can we please have some proper telly programmes, failing that, the test card will do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    Get rid of it on all channels please .It's Dull,It's Karaoke and it's just not interesting anymore. Saturday night used to be a great night for TV now it's all about Phone Votes and Z list celebrities. Oh for those Halcyon days of good TV and for that matter something worth watching

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    I think The Voice has just got it right - I used to watch X-Factor but got bored, it was all the same type of singers who couldn't compete in the industry after that first single. Maybe I'm wrong, but I get a different feeling about the voice - My family and I have been blown away by the quality of the contestants, and the judges seem more relaxed and more committed, as well as better musicians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    The only difference with the voice was the initial blind auditions. After this the show has turned into a copy of the other talent shows anyway. Also it is more obvious that the acts are all preselected before they go up against the judges. This is of course also true of the x-factor, but they edit it to look like they just came in off the street!

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    22 million for a show of people we have never heard of being judged by people we wish we had never heard of and 72 year old Tom Jones, choosing someone we will never hear of again. Have the BBC gone totally insane? Please can I have my license fee back.

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    These programme clearly have mass appeal; but for a performer to hone the art, there is no substitute for getting in the van and gigging your way around the country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    Quite frankly, I'm puzzled why it's on anything. Along with the rest of the cheap entertainment - Britain's got Talent, X-factor - it's all boring c**p!


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