George Michael & Susan Boyle

Well, you know… I did wonder.  It looks like George Michael might go on UK “talent” show, X-Factor, probably to promote his forthcoming single, December Song – but why?

On the surface, there’s a simple explanation.  That is – X-Factor ratings are through the roof.  The ratings are so high that, as an artist, if you want to reach your fans – to let them know you have a single and live concert DVD out – then performing as a guest on the show is a perfect way to go about it. Yet, in the case of George Michael in general, and December Song in particular, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

Firstly, it doesn’t make sense because George cares about music; and he surely hasn’t failed to realize that the contestants on this year’s X-Factor are even more talentless than usual (with the exception of Joe, none of the contestants can even sing in tune).  Without a doubt, every single contestant on X-Factor will have a recording career that will sink rapidly without trace.   That means – X-Factor this year is even less about music that it usually is… and let’s be honest, it’s never about music, even if the occasional talented singer like Leona Lewis enters the competition.  Why would someone like George Michael want to be associated with drivel like this?

Yeah, yeah, I hear you (and Simon Cowell) say – don’t be such a snob.  The reason George is prepared to go on is that he wants to sell his record.  After all, it was George that said, “”Everybody’s got to sell”.  Which brings me to the second point.  As great as December Song is – and it is a great record – it’s not going to sell.  No amount of promotion – even to tens of millions of people on X-Factor – is going to persuade people to buy this record.   As I say – that’s not because it’s a bad record.  On the contrary, from an artistic point of view, it hits all the right spots.  The problem is – I just don’t think people want to buy songs about a man reminiscing about an unhappy childhood with a largely absent father who, when he was home,  just made the house a miserable place to be.  It’s a beautiful song. It has a beautiful video. People will be touched.  The song will affect them emotionally.  However, they won’t buy the record –  it’s not the kind of music you play at a Christmas party, or on Christmas morning while everyone opens their presents.

For a song like this, even making it into the Top 25 best selling singles would be an achievement.  I hope I’m wrong, but I think it has no chance of being a Top 5 or even a Top 10 record.  So, why the hell bother to promote it on a horrible show like X-Factor where you have to compromise your artistic integrity to tell Dermot that, “The finalists are really talented, and I’ve been so impressed with their world-class singing”?  It makes no sense to me.

Or, at least, I should say –  it didn’t make sense to me.  And then I understood. George Michael has an important, personal link to Simon Cowell.  That is – via his friend and faux-manager, Andy Stephens, who works for Simon.  You see, it turns out that “global superstar” Susan Boyle is managed by Andy, on behalf of Simon.    Of course, those people that understand music understand that Susan Boyle is essentially an untalented singer, with the emotional sophistication of a teaspoon.  She’s “OK” considering the fact that the brain damage she sustained early in life has so negatively affected her development .  However, in absolute terms, she’s completely uninteresting as an artist, her music is without merit, and as a person she’s bereft of charisma.  The whole Susan Boyle project is nothing but a cynical exercise in exploiting a vulnerable human being for profit.  Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.

But I digress. The truth is – George Michael should be insulted that Andy Stephens got the job as Susan Boyle’s manager.  The thinking was thus – “If Andy can ‘mastermind’ the career of George Michael, with all his problems of going into toilets to buy drugs and proposition men, and all his problems of crashing cars… then he is well-qualified to handle the crazy, emotionally unstable. difficult-to-work-with Boyle.”  Of course, George’s success is nothing to do with Andy, and Andy has zero impact on mitigating any negative PR that George gets. In fact, the reality is that Andy has held George back.  Still, they are friends, and George is loyal to his friends.

And so it becomes clear.  Why does it look like George might go on X-Factor? Because Andy Stephens works for Simon Cowell, which means there’s a clear line of communication open from X-Factor to George.   Whether George will end up doing the X-Factor final, I don’t know.   For sure Simon Cowell wants it to happen.  For sure Andy Stephens wants it to happen. So, they’ll be bending George’s ear, saying what a great idea it would be for George to go on the show, and generally blowing smoke up his ass.

The people that will benefit from George going on X-Factor, then, will be the X-Factor team and Andy Stephens.  George will get no benefit.  He will likely be slated for singing a miserable song on the show; the song won’t do well in the charts; and he’ll be humiliated.   Perhaps there might be a right time for George to go on X-Factor to promote a record.  I don’t think this is it.

Caveat: I’m more than happy to be proved wrong about all this – I’m just giving my opinion.  I would love it, if: George would go on X-Factor; give a performance that blows away anything else that’s ever been on the show; December Song soars to be a huge chart success; and the public generally raves about his performance.

19 thoughts on “George Michael & Susan Boyle

  1. Remarkable,
    Feels like you have been thinking TOO HARD recently, honestly!!!
    On one hand it is true, George doesn’t need this sort of promotion on some “muppet show” like this year’s X-Factor.
    But on the other hand, I am sure many people would love to see him singing again, whether on this show or some other.
    Don’t forget that George never disappoint with his performance and he is the pleasure to watch/listen. Only haters critisize him.
    About December Song – it is sad, but really beautiful!!! I will buy the record and for sure I won’t be the only one🙂

  2. LOL @ni! I think the points I made are quite simple.

    Going on X-Factor this year was a PR disaster for both Whitney Houston and Robbie Williams. It could rather easily be the same for George, promoting a record like December Song. Even allowing the “Wham!/George Michael Week” was an error of judgment. The reaction from X-Factor fans was not at all positive; and the performances made his songs sound like shit.

    As I say – I’m more than willing to be proved wrong. Only George can know how strong a live performance he thinks he can do with this particular record in the environment of the X-Factor final.

    For my money, I think the smart move would be to give X-Factor a miss, and just do the Jonathan Ross show as an exclusive. And if he did that, he should not take it too seriously, and do two songs: December Song, and then Last Christmas (give the audience what they want). The point is – if you have no chance of the record being a big hit, it’s a mistake to over-hype it.

    Glad to hear that you think December Song will be a big hit, though. What UK chart position to you predict it will reach?

  3. Think situation is more simple, to go on this show is the best and cheapest way to promote his song, but think deep down he hates to do that, because of the shitty level of the show, and so it is not what he would really love to do.

    I am very curious myself about sales. We should remember, that George always have been one of the best selling musicians…..(but anyway, probably it was better to release song and video all together last year, and not for free to make even better sales)

    And to me video is not really sad, it is cute and even funny at times.

  4. Sorry to have to say this, but I agree with you Rem. I too am hoping for a Number 1 for George…but it’s unlikely to happen for the simple reason that lots and lots and LOTS of people love George and would fall over themselves to go to a concert or buy an album…but they’re in the age bracket that just doesn’t buy singles…end of story! Of course, I’m not talking about rabid fans (like me!) who will buy it just to support him, but if it were any other artist, no matter how much I liked the single, I wouldn’t buy it, I’d wait for an album.
    And yeah…George on X-Factor…hmmm. If he does go on it and doesn’t sing ‘Last Christmas’…he’s dead in the water! Sorry George. I love ‘December Song’ but the public want ‘Last Christmas Pt 2’…anything else…well I’ve said enough I think?🙂

    P.S. I too wish George every success with the single, I hope it goes to Number 1 and stays there for a month, etc, etc, etc!

  5. Little George, if u visit X- Factor ….public would lov December Song ….amazing and touching song !!! xxx

  6. I too can see the connection between the 3 entities but I do believe that Remarkable sees any thought of Andy Stephens through biased eyes. Andy Stephens is not responsible for holding George back. The only person responsible for that is George himself. Andy is there to carry out George’s wishes. He’s not there to crack the whip like Cowell.

  7. Not sure what you mean, Moog. Sure, I don’t particularly like Andy Stephens. That’s not a secret. I find him to be an unpleasant human being that isn’t very good at his job, and doesn’t have George’s best interests at heart. So, in that sense, yes, I am biased against him.

    On the other hand, from your comment, it would seem you think I’m the only person in the world that dislikes the man. That’s a long way from the truth. In fact, one of the reasons why I say he has held George back is because so many people really dislike Andy Stephens, and dislike working with him. The consequence of that is that George gets less out of business dealings than he might otherwise. The attitude is more “fuck him”, than, “let’s do everything we can for him”.

    Now, you’re right to say that, ultimately, George is responsible for himself. If he thinks Andy isn’t the right man for the job, he is free to get rid of him. In that regard, you’ll notice that when there was a lot at stake last time out (the Twenty Five Live tour), George side-lined Andy Stephens, made Andy fire his side-kick/partner in crime, hired Michael Lippman, and handed control of over all significant operations to Lippman Entertainment.

    So, while as far as I know, George regards Andy Stephens as a friend, perhaps even George doesn’t disagree with my views on the man quite as much as you might think.

    Having said all that – it’s really nothing personal. For example, I have helped Andy out when he needed to identify a person that was posting unpleasant things about George in the comments on this blog, because he and George were concerned it was a disgruntled, disloyal former employee that they might have to deal with. I just think Andy would be better off if he really focused on doing a good job, and tried to avoid unnecessarily making enemies.

  8. I agree with most of what you’ve posted expect you comment about “PR disaster for both Whitney Houston and Robbie Williams” – The simple reason for that was because they were OFF THEIR HEADS!!

    I think it could be a good thing for George. It’s a shit of a show, but times have changed.. I too doubt whether the song will be a hit because of his apperance on X-Factor but it will just be nice to see him perform live again and show off his talents for that 5 mins and maybe remind a lot of the watching public that he is alive and well and just as talented as ever.

    He promotes the single, the dvd and the new album, so I can’t really see any harm in it personally.. As long as he doesn’t meet up with Robbie and Whitney the night before, I’m sure he’ll be fine!!!

  9. Maybe George feels that for what George actually DOES in the UK then Andy Stephens is plenty adequate for the job and if he is as unpleasant and disliked as you and others say he is, then it’s possible that George has got the correct manager – one that will be the barrier between the artist and anyone wanting a piece of him.

    However, I’ve only ever had one dealing with him and found him polite and professional. Just goes to show that we all see things from different perspectives.

    Back to the X-Factor. Do you think it’s a ‘necessary evil’ for George to go on the show? Or would you rather he didn’t?

  10. Not a necessary evil. In the final analysis, for me, whether George should go on X-Factor or not depends on whether he truly believes he can give a kick ass performance that people will love. If he thinks he can figure out a performance that’ll blow people away, then fine, go on the show. Also, if he actually wants to do it, he should go on the show.

    I also fully accept I might be totally wrong on this stuff. After all, we live in a world where Susan Boyle has the fastest selling debut album in UK Chart history, and the fastest selling album of the year in the US. I wouldn’t have predicted that. In fact, if truth be told, I’m a little shocked that anyone would buy the Susan Boyle album.

  11. Mind you, the precedent was set when he did American Idol. So, I suppose it would be hypocritical of him if he was to get all precious about it now. If he’s gone to the lengths of providing a video for the song and he has a live DVD out, I would expect him to promote them. Somehow. Unless that IS the promotion. Going off past occasions, I wouldn’t bet against him. ;o)

  12. From a purely selfish point of view, I actually can’t wait to see him sing live and if it’s on the X-Factor, then I’ll take that. He’ll defo kick ass.. As a few of you have said, it all depends on whether HE actually wants to do it.. If he does then expect a performance, if he’s doing it half heartedly (as a favour for Andy Stevens or anyone else) then it might be a half hearted performance which isn’t going to do him or anyone any favours.

  13. Remarkable,

    Firstly, Whitney herself is a disaster nowadays, and her new song is less than average, kindly saying. And Robbie came out with the most horrible song he possibly could have.
    Secondly, George doesn’t need to do Simon a favour. His DVD will sell well anyway. Fans who were lucky to see him on 25Live will buy it for sentimental reason. Those who weren’t as lucky, will buy it too. And many other people will buy it because GM is a “top brand name”.
    So he doesn’t need to promote himself on the X-Factor or anywhere else. However, it doesn’t change the fact, that it would be lovely to see him performing, specially at Christmas Time. He should do it if he really want to and if he will enjoy it. But this is only for George to decide, and for us to respect his decision.

    About December Song – Have you ever thought Rem., that maybe it wasn’ meant to be another Last Xmas? It is so personal and perhaps it was thought to be more a special gift for George’s loyal fans, than for the general public. If George didn’t released it for sale last year, maybe he wasn’t thinking about chart topping then. I think he can afford to do that way. And I think that song is exactly what George wanted it to be. It is beautiful and heart touching. we love it and that is what matters.

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  16. Boyle untalented singer??? Can so many fans be wrong?? Or do they have bad taste about music and singing? Why are so many albums sold if she is ´untalented´

    Unintelligent? Is that the impression when watching interviews?
    How many artists say that they “try to do the very best cause it´s a responsibility to the audience, because they espect it” ? Or stay grounded?

    I think she seems to be very intelligent!….and I´m surely not the only one…! “Crazy” —Isn´t it wonderful that there are people who are not 13 in a dozen? And dare to stay “outside the dozen” and be called “feisty”….
    Surely there are also many in the fanclubs who have made friends..and if it hadn´t been for Susan they probably hadn´t even known about each others existence…….

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