16 December 2019 06:31
But chances are slim that the name Dalton Harris – whose winner's single "The Power of Love" went to number four last year before he promptly disappeared – just popped into your head. It didn't last long, but a second try had more success, producing hits such as Sinitta's "So Macho" (Cowell would later keep her career alive by hiring her to pop up inexplicably on The X Factor from time to time). It would be called Pop Idol, and Cowell would be on the panel of judges. The 25 biggest cultural moments of the decade Show all 25 left Created with Sketch. The 25 biggest cultural moments of the decade 1/25 One Direction form (2010) Of Simon Cowell's many contributions to civilisation – see also Jedward, Susan Boyle and Piers Morgan's career in America – surely the most enduring will be the alliance of Harry, Niall, Louis, Zayn and… the other one (sorry, hi Liam…we've just remembered you).
AFP via Getty Images 1/25 One Direction form (2010) Of Simon Cowell's many contributions to civilisation – see also Jedward, Susan Boyle and Piers Morgan's career in America – surely the most enduring will be the alliance of Harry, Niall, Louis, Zayn and… the other one (sorry, hi Liam…we've just remembered you). It was during the 2010 run of The X Factor that Cowell decided to assemble a Voltron-like pop behemoth out of five skinny teens slathered in Brylcreem. Getty Images 2/25 David Fincher releases The Social Network (2010) "I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo" went the choral Radiohead cover in the trailer. Sky 3/25 Ed Sheeran releases "The A-Team" (2011) Years putting up with James Blunt and other, now forgotten, sappy sops had brought the singer-songwriter tradition to a dark and scary place. Getty 4/25 REM split (2011) When the second biggest band of their generation (they never quite snatched the gong from U2) announced they were calling it quits, the world responded with a shrug. Getty 7/25 Disney buys Star Wars (2012) Having swooped in for Marvel, the Magic Kingdom turned its tractor-beam on Lucasfilm. After all, George RR Martin was close to finishing his second-but-last Song of Ice and Fire novel, The Winds of Winter, leaving Benioff and Weiss more than enough time to bring the show to a satisfactory end. Sky 11/25 Frozen is released (2013) It is a sign how we have come, and how quickly that, a mere six years ago, a sugar-frosted power ballad about learning to love the real you could be considered vaguely revolutionary, even subversive. Sky 12/25 Taylor Swift goes pop (2014) She was already a phenomenon – but the true dawning of the age of Tay-Tay came with "Shake It Off", her self-referential rumination on fame, self-esteem and finding the courage to love yourself in a world of online hate and anger. Swift was confirmed as the first pop star forged completely in the social media age. Getty 15/25 Love Island is rebooted (2015) Reality TV reached middle age this decade and we looked back at early 2000s Big Brother and wondered at the innocence of it all. ITV 16/25 David Bowie's death (2016) As T-shirt designers and cover-bands know only too well, rock stars have been passing away for decades. AFP via Getty Images 17/25 JK Rowling brings back Harry Potter with The Cursed Child (2016) Ten years ago, Harry Potter looked like yesterday's phenomenon, ready to assume its place on the dusty shelf next to Lord of the Rings and Narnia. AFP via Getty Images 21/25 Harvey Weinstein is disgraced (2017) Just two years on #MeToo has brought about unimaginable change, at least in the entertainment industry. Getty 22/25 Billie Eilish achieves one billion streams on Spotify without releasing an album (2018) Fours years on from Taylor Swift and "Shake It Off", pop music was about to be reinvented all over again. Getty Images for Coachella 23/25 Kanye West visits the White House (2018) The Kanye psychodrama has been must-see viewing since he rushed Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs. But now came a moment for the history books as an egotistical eccentric with ludicrous dress sense… met Kanye West (should that be the other way around?). Getty Images 24/25 Stormzy headlines Glastonbury (2019) Grime was already far too successful for us to entertain the idea that it "came of age" when Stormzy, in his Banksy stab-vest, closed Friday night at Glastonbury. AFP via Getty Images Pop Idol was shelved to make room for The X Factor, and the show became a phenomenon, Steve Brookstein winning its first series. Almost as soon as it was created, The X Factor had its detractors – those who believed it prioritised entertainment and money over musicality or talent. But the biggest thing to come out of the series, and indeed The X Factor, was One Direction, whose staggering international success nobody could have predicted when they were thrown together on a whim by guest judge Nicole Scherzinger. This year saw the lacklustre launch of The X Factor: Celebrities, a desperate move from Cowell – given that he attempted an all-stars series back in 2006 before promptly dropping it – saying that it was "pointless" and that he was "never going to do it again". And this week, X Factor: The Band launched to just 2.8 million viewers – a fraction of the figures Cowell once took for granted. Cowell recently signed a deal with ITV to broadcast his other show, Britain's Got Talent, for at least five more years. Or maybe the world is just tired of Simon Cowell, and tired of The X Factor.