This appeared in the Los Angeles Times Thursday, May 20, written by Shirley Halperin. NICK MITCHELL'S SEND-OFF 'SLAP' TO SIMON COWELL: IT'S A HOT MESS
As we near the end of Simon Cowell's "American Idol" run, we can look forward to plenty of tributes, video packages and even a roast or two. Host Ryan Seacrest told Idol Tracker back in April that he's been assigned to compile a video send-off for Simon, and, indeed, we saw the two of them trailed by cameras after Tuesday's performance show, as they walked practically arm-in-arm toward Simon's two-story dressing room.
And now comes word of another goodbye clip, this one helmed by Season 8 Top 24 contender Nick Mitchell and his alter ego, Norman Gentle, who took to New York's Times Square (in a flatbed truck, U2-style) for what he describes as "a hot mess" of a video to accompany the song, "Brit Slap" (listen below). He means that in the best way, of course.
How did "Brit Slap" come about? Honestly, it was a fluke. Through Fred Bronson [a former editor at Billboard magazine], I had a lunch in New York, which led to me working with some amazing musicians, who asked me if I would want to come to their recording studio in Brooklyn and experiment. I told them I was MM1more of a character performer, but they talked me into trying to do a song that was a perfect git for Norman Gentle called "Bitchslap!" Then, right after we recorded it, the news came out that Simon is leaving "Idol," so we thought to do two versions, a censored one called "Brit Slap!" and the original "Bitchslap!" So now that were putting out a record, I told them Norman Gentle as a cabaret character was too limiting, so we have to go by the name "Gentle" now, like Chris Daughtry's "Daughtry." In my mind, it is the only way Norman could do it!What's your favorite lyric in the song?
The song is not really about Simon -- the songwriters had it way before I ever met them -- but I do love the lyric, "Nothing's ever good enough / You've got it so tough / Broken record, same old song / I'm done!" Deep down, and I truly mean this, I love Simon. I think just as much as he is a musical entrepreneur, he's an amazing comedian. His one-liners are on a Ricky Gervais, Chris Rock level! I really look up to him.
BS2 What was the most fun part of the video shoot?
Oh my gosh, what to choose? I loved my four dancer girls from Alvin Ailey Ballet School, called the "Gentle-lettes" I loved performing the song on the Manhattan Bridge in rush-hour traffic, and people just staring at us, like, "What the ...?" And I also loved doing the Britney Spears "Womanizer" steam room scene! But the shoot had over 20 dancers and 10 cameras! Life is funny sometimes.What kind of legacy will Simon Cowell leave?
I honestly love "American Idol" so much, but I really feel it's going to be so hard to replace him. Simon Cowell goes into the unique category of people, very few have achieved it, where they're the complete opposite of everything you were taught growing up, Like, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it." Simon has proved that wrong, and it's made him a billionaire!
If you were to see Simon again, what would you say?
I would give him a hug, and then they would call security. No, I would probably tell him how funny I thought he was on the show, and thank him for giving me and "Norman Gentle" the opportunity to go as far as we did in the competition -- because let's be real, he has a lot of power there -- and because it changed my life, and now I am getting to do what makes me happiest: entertaining people.
Where do you hope this song/video will end up?
MTV, Logo, VH1, YouTube ... but above all, I would love it to end up on Simon's laptop. If you have his e-mail address, I can gift it to him on iTunes.
I'm sure Simon can spring for the $1.99 it costs to download. When will it be available? In time for the finale?
Yes, the video will be out within the next week. It's still in post. I just felt really cool using the word "post."—Shirley Halperin