Can this 8-year-old cutie save Cowell’s vanishing luck? How the Britain’s Got Talent mogul is turning to a younger generation in an attempt to restore the magic touch he’s lost with pop flops
She could be just the trick to reverse Simon Cowell’s waning reputation.
Pint-sized magician Issy Simpson certainly wowed Britain’s Got Talent viewers at her audition – and she’s being tipped for even greater things in this week’s live semi-finals.
But it is no coincidence that the eight-year-old is just one of several child hopefuls being primed for stardom in the ITV show.
For Cowell is turning to a younger generation in the hope of restoring his standing as a kingmaker with the Midas touch.
Once, his eye for what the public wanted and keen marketing acumen gave him an unerring ability to pluck talented amateurs from obscurity and launch them to global stardom.
Pint-sized magician Issy Simpson wowed Britain’s Got Talent viewers at her audition – and she’s being tipped for even greater things in this week’s live semi-finals
But in recent years, the winners of Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor have slipped out of the limelight as quickly as they emerged, and Cowell’s stranglehold on the pop charts has been broken by a new batch of stars such as Ed Sheeran and Adele.
Since the global domination of One Direction, Cowell has had success with Little Mix and James Arthur but has not had a huge breakout act in Britain in the last five years.
That is why the svengali has ordered his producers to concentrate on youngsters such as Issy instead of the usual parade of boybands, girlbands and performing pets.
Cowell has even enlisted a mini-me critic – in the shape of his three-year-old son Eric – to help him find the next generations of stars.
‘Eric is the acid test,’ says one friend. ‘Simon will show him performances and gauges whether he is impressed or not.’
Eric has clearly given the thumbs-up to the trickery of the cheeky and impossibly cute Issy, whose performance in the auditions left the audience stunned. Her most memorable trick was to leave an empty cardboard box on the judges’ table, which the combined might of Cowell and David Walliams couldn’t move.
And she has some more confounding stunts planned for tonight.
It is no coincidence that eight-year-old Issy is just one of several child hopefuls being primed for stardom in the ITV show
Issy, from Blackpool, admits she is ‘a bit nervous’ about the prospect of impressing the judges – and millions watching at home – in the two and a half minutes she has been allotted.
But she says: ‘I’ve been practising on my grandpa.’
He is no ordinary grandfather, however, but professional magician Russ Stevens. It was Russ who got Issy interested in conjuring a year ago after buying her a Marvin’s Magic set – and who has helped her hone her skills.
‘We started with a few tricks, like some card tricks, that were hard then but easy for me now,’ she says.
However Russ’s involvement caused more than a touch of controversy after it emerged he had once worked as a consultant magician on BGT.
But a spokesman for the show insists that Issy ‘went through the exact same process as any other act and was judged on her performance on the day’.
A spokesman for the show insists that Issy ‘went through the exact same process as any other act and was judged on her performance on the day’
As for how she does her amazing tricks, Issy remains as tight-lipped as any member of The Magic Circle.
‘A magician never reveals her secret,’ she explains.
‘I’m not telling. Only the people who help me do the illusion have to know – like my mummy.’
That even extends to keeping Cowell in the dark. ‘It’s quite funny that he doesn’t know how it happens because it’s actually quite simple,’ Issy laughs. ‘But I’m not telling. Simon thinks he knows everything but he doesn’t, not at all.’
It was grandpa Russ who asked Issy – who thinks that Cowell is ‘very nice… but sometimes a bit strict’ – if she wanted to appear on Britain’s Got Talent.
‘I used to want to go on and sing Frozen but I don’t like Frozen any more,’ she explains. ‘I like Harry Potter now.
‘I like Ginny the most because she sticks up for people, she plays Quidditch and she’s a strong and brave girl like me.’
Today, Issy has mastered about 20 tricks, including a levitating ball, a surprising Rubik’s Cube and a vanishing Statue Of Liberty – an illusion initially made famous by American magician David Copperfield, but which Issy does by making the landmark disappear from a postcard.
Her Britain’s Got Talent appearance has since amassed more than 12 million views on YouTube, which might explain why she has been inundated with requests for autographs and selfies since first appearing on the show last month.
Confidence isn’t something Issy is lacking. She recently dumped her boyfriend because he was ‘nasty to her best friend’, and she even told comedian turned children’s writer David Walliams that he was merely her ‘third favourite author’.
Then there’s her dream of having her own TV show.
‘I want to be a magician on the telly, I want other kids to get involved in doing magic,’ she says.
‘And I want to show that girls can do it. I’m smart, I’m one of the smartest people in my class.
‘Hopefully I can win BGT now. Lots of people at school have said they would vote for me.’
Full article, published on 27 May, 2017 at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4548570/Magician-Issy-Simpson-save-Simon-Cowell-reputation.html
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