If there's one hard and fast rule of mainstream TV popularity in the US, it's that you don't intrude on that nation's moments of grief. So it'll be interesting to see if Simon Cowell can extricate himself from the mess he's gotten into after he was caught apparently rolling his eyes while an American Idol contestant made a speech about his friends at Virginia Tech.
Cowell's explanation? He wasn't rolling his eyes at that at all:
I did wanna clear this one up because this is a very sensitive subject. The irony was is that we did want to set the right tone on the show."
So, rather than showing disrespect by making a face, you simply weren't listening at all? That'll play well, Simon. Especially if you're suggesting you set up the memorial speech in the first place and then had a little chinwag with Paula over the top of it.
Really, this would be a storm in an espresso cup were it not for the red raw scar of this week's shootings; it suggests why a light entertainment man like Cowell should steer clear of trying to engage with the real world altogether. It also shows that his connection with what the mainstream, Fox-watching segment of the American public are thinking is nowhere near as closely attuned as he likes to claim.