Wait...What Just Happened?: A Review of “The Event”
By Christy Box, Grade 10

What happens when you mix aliens, political intrigue, hijacked planes, kidnappings, and strange characters? You get “The Event.”

“The Event” is a 2010 TV series starring Jason Ritter, Sarah Roemer, Scott Patterson, and Taylor Cole. It is really impossible to place it into one genre, but science fiction may be most appropriate. The plot begins when Sean Walker (Ritter) takes his girlfriend (Roemer) on a trip to propose to her. However, things take a strange turn of events when they meet a couple on the same cruise. Sean’s girlfriend gets sick and stays in her room one day, and by the time Sean gets back to her, she has disappeared. Not only that, but there is no longer any record of them even being aboard the ship.

Intertwined in this crazy conspiracy are his girlfriend’s father (Patterson), who is forced to hijack a plane, and one of the President’s advisers, Sophia, who seems to know far more than she tells. Everything is going like any normal conspiracy theory plot...until the plane disappears into thin air. It is soon discovered that all this insanity is the work of a group of stranded aliens. That’s right. Aliens.

There is no contest. “The Event” is the weirdest show on TV right now. I have honestly never stared at a show in confusion, wondering where that plane went. What’s more, that was only the pilot. The next twenty episodes lead you on an adventure you can hardly believe. This is part of what keeps the show interesting. Because they come up with the strangest twists and turns, you can never tell what will happen next. Besides, once you get into science fiction territory, anything can happen. It’s a rather addicting show.

At first, it’s hard to care about the characters. You have an interest in Sean and his girlfriend, but the rest are too underdeveloped. However, as the show continued, the character develop more and more (and in very intriguing ways).

Conclusion? It’s an all right show. While “The Event” is not an outstanding hit show, it still keeps up a good pace and an intriguing plot. It just finished its first and only season with a huge cliffhanger, and they are currently looking into other channels and outlets to pick up the show now that NBC has cancelled it. If you have some free time, look into some previous episodes. It just might keep you hooked.

Simon Cowell: The Story Behind the Legend
By Rachael Britton, Grade 9

We all know about Simon Cowell, long time judge of American Idol, X-Factor, and other talent shows around the UK and USA. He’s a music critic, to say the least. He also has a giant reputation for making blunt, maybe even un-called for comments about people’s musical and even physical abilities. In a nutshell, Simon is a love him or hate him kind of guy. But what most people don’t know is how Cowell managed to become the famous man he is. How did he become a judge on one of America’s favourite TV shows, the famed American Idol? Before we can get to those kinds of hard-hitting questions, let’s start with some basics of Simon.

Simon Phillip Cowell was born in Lambeth, London on October 7, 1959, which would make his age now 51. His father, Eric Cowell, was involved in the music industry, and his mother, Julie Brett, was a former ballerina. He has four brothers, three of which are half-brothers, and Simon is the 3rd oldest of them all. Simon says the first time he gave someone criticism was when he was four. His mother was wearing a white, fuzzy pillow box hat, and he said to her, “Mum, you look like a poodle.”

In his late teens, he tried all sorts of jobs, but found it hard to cooperate with his bosses and colleagues until finally his father, an executive at a giant recording studio called EMI Music Publishing, was able to find him a job at the age of 17 working in the mail room. It’s quite hard to believe that he went from being considered the bottom of the industrial food chain to what the Sunday Times list estimated his net worth of in 2009: a whopping $196 million dollars!

Simon worked his way up, working for several music companies, but not making much of a success. At one point when Simon was 30 years old, he actually had to move back in with his parents because of debt problems. But that didn’t stop good ‘ole Simon! He kept climbing the rungs of the music industry ladder, and soon found himself with his own music company, Syco Music. He also released many novelty records that featured popular kids shows like Teletubbies, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and Zig and Zag.

His father died in 1999 of a heart attack on the very day that Simon got his first #1 in his then unknown band Westlife, which his father had always predicted would make it big.

In 2002, Cowell was offered the position of a judge on the 1st season of American Idol, and continued his hefty role in the program until 2010.

He is now engaged to make up artist Mezhgan Hussainy, who he met on the set of American Idol in February of 2010.

He also signed a deal with FOX letting his production company broadcast his shows Britain's Got Talent and American Inventor on other channels, as long as he did not appear in the shows.

In the United Kingdom, he signed a deal with ITV for £6.5 million pounds, or $10.67 million dollars for 3 years that gave ITV the rights to his shows X-Factor, a British vocal talent show, much like Britain’s Got Talent and American Idol, and Grease is the Word, a show looking for talent to appear in London’s West End revival of the musical Grease.

In 2007, he earned roughly $72 million dollars from his various projects. So by this time, he was very famous, and very rich. Despite many people accusing him of not knowing talent and being partial to British contestants on his other shows on account of his nationality, he never gave up when negative comments came his way and kept a positive outlook on America as a whole.

“If you would have asked me what I thought of America before I came over here I would have used the word 'corny'. And then you come over here and you find that it's not corny at all. British people are very cynical, they cannot bear someone else's success. Americans embrace other people's success. Everything in America is larger than life.”

His British talent competition show, X-Factor, is moving to America, starting September 11th of this year. Cowell is also the executive producer of popular TV show Britain’s Got Talent that had roughly 12 million viewers a week, which beat rival producer and creator of American Idol Simon Fuller’s So You Think You Can Dance.

Simon also has several other shows that he has either produced or co-produced, including American Inventor, Celebrity Duets, Grease is the Word, and Rock Rivals. He also wrote an autobiography, titled by his catchphrase, “I Don’t Mean to be Rude, but...”. In it, he writes about his childhood and his experiences with the different shows he’s been involved with over the years.

Most people tend to think of Simon Cowell, the 6th richest person in the British music industry, as a heartless man who gets his kicks out of putting down contestants and auditionee’s on his several talent shows around the world. But Simon does indeed seem to have a heart. On a season of American Idol, a female contestant told the judges that she had quit her job to pursue her dream of becoming America’s next Idol. After hearing her audition and being rejected, Simon called her boss and got her job back for her. He is also involved with many charity organizations.

When asked if he ever felt guilty about being honest to American Idol contestants, he replied, "No, what I am doing is kind by telling people who are useless 'Do something that you're good at'. So I would only feel guilt if I misled somebody who was terrible.” And when asked why he might be so rude to some contestants, he said, “Sit in these auditions for three weeks and hear "I Believe I Can Fly" out of tune for the millionth time, YOU try and be nice.”

So he can’t be all bad, right? A lot of people would beg to differ. Whatever the opinion one holds of brutally honest Simon Cowell, one must recognize how far he's come since working in that mail room at age 17.


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