Belfast Telegraph

Is Will.i.am the new Cowell?

By Lindy McDowell

The sudden waning of Simon Cowell's once seemingly unassailable star surely owes a lot not just to his own indiscretion and boasting about his alleged conquests but also to the fact that eventually the audience out there just wants something - or someone - new.

Never underestimate the fickleness of folk.

And unfortunately for Sir Simon (as he'd apparently like to be styled) there is a new Voice on the block.

It comes in an odd package. Lurid baseball jacket, weird shaved hair-parting and those fingerless leather gloves that Madonna wears to hide her scrawny, veiny hands.

Will.i.am, with his posy name (that Microsoft Word refuses to let me write without capping up the I), is indeed a singular looking boy.

But, and this is where Cowell should cower, the man from the Black-Eyed Peas suddenly has the potential to become the new face of Saturday evening TV entertainment.

That's because he turns out to be clever, witty, engaging and surprisingly sweet. And in his new role as coach on the BBC show he exudes a down-to-earth genuine empathy with contestants that makes Cowell's putdowns look sour and dated.

Granted, maybe it's also got a lot to do with the fact that he's new and different. But he is the undoubted star of The Voice (even compared to the kindly Tom Jones.)

Cowell's self-regard is legendary.

But could the Peacock have met his match in the laid-back and extremely likeable Pea?

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