Dour Simon Shows Smiley Side in UK

Carping Idol judge is happy, sweet over on Britian's Got Talent
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2009 9:41 AM CDT
Television personality Simon Cowell poses on the press line at the Elton John Academy Award viewing and after party in West Hollywood, Calif. on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009.   (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)
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(Newser) – Viewers of American Idol might not recognize the jovial figure who regularly flashes his white-toothed grin from the judges' table on Britain's Got Talent. But that laughing man saying "awww" at adorable child contestants is indeed Simon Cowell. His transformation across the pond is nothing short of striking, writes Jon Caramanica in the Los Angeles Times.

So why does the "sour, dismissive, unhappy, brutal" Idol judge suddenly turn into Santa Claus when he goes back to England? It might be a symptom of Cowell's impatience to finish up his American contract: "I think nine seasons is a lot." Or is he trying to sink Idol to make room in the market for a show of his own? Only time will tell. "America may have talent, but apparently all we've earned is Simon's acid," writes Caramanica.