Paul’s got Kate?

Maybe not, but Simon Cowell goes up in flames
By JAMES PARKER  |  June 19, 2007


VIDEO: Paul Potts in action

Paul Potts! Paul Potts! And again — Paul Potts! A cellphone salesman from Wales turned the Web upside down last week; he wrote his name in gouts of flame upon the walls of Time, via YouTube clip from BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT that sped from blog to blog like news of a miracle. Potato-headed Paul, whose pallor, awkwardness, and general metabolic ambiance suggest a man thoroughly marinaded in loneliness, fiddles with his fingers and says that, for him, “Confidence has always been a bit of problem.” His smile is gently tortured; his compressed frame exhales a sort of mothballed humility. Then he moves toward the mic and announces to the panel that he is going to sing — wait for it — opera.

Cue haughty looks from the judges. Simon Cowell (for it is he) sucks his pen in anticipation of a classic loser flame-out, another imploding fattie. But Paul (for who knows how long?) has been cherishing an angel in his bosom — a rich, passionate voice that climbs impeccably through the strains of “Nessun dorma” until old ladies in the crowd are helpless with emotion and the pen has dropped from Cowell’s mouth. You will be moved, damn you. As Martin Amis once wrote of his papa, the gouty Kingsley, by the time I’d finished watching, my face was “a mask of unattended tears.” Paul went on to win the entire competition and is now, my sources tell me, romantically “involved” with Prince William’s ex, Kate Middleton. I think I need some new sources.

No one could doubt, however, the fine romance at the heart of last week’s INTERVENTION (A&E, Friday at 10 pm). As Andrea swung into the motel parking lot with five grams of crack in her bag, she mused on the character of ex-boyfriend Andrew, who was waiting for her in one of the rooms. “Usually he has all the dope, and he always has the upper hand,” said Andrea. “Tonight I have a little bag of my own.” Andrew, ever solicitous, called Andrea on her cellphone with his room number: “I want that BJ,” he added. In the half-lit room, they bickered sweetly over stray lumps of crack: “Where’d it go? There was a big chunk right there!”; “I didn’t touch it. Stop accusing me of stuff.” Toxic vapors coiled around a cheap lampshade while the bed gradually unmade itself — a beautiful atmosphere. But soon Andrew, tender-hearted swain that he is, began to feel unrequited. “I asked you four times for a blow job,” he complained. “You know what? You’re not gonna give me a blow job — fuck you.” And he left. Andrea kept her head: the evening was not over. There were still a couple of grams to smoke. “I feel sketchy, paranoid, anxious,” she wheezed, with the evil fumes struggling in her lungs. “Just a terrible feeling, terrible. This is where I don’t like crack at all.”

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