×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Simon Cowell Humbled by Hollywood Star: ‘Fame Is the Best Thing in the World’

Kelly Clarkson and Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer spoke at the Aug. 22 ceremony which was also attended by Louis Tomlinson, Adam Lambert and the 'AGT' cast.

Loads of love — and London accents — filled Hollywood Boulevard on Wednesday, Aug. 22, for Simon Cowell’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star dedication ceremony. The “America’s Got Talent” creator  and judge, whose credits also include launching “The X Factor” and serving nine seasons on “American Idol,” was welcomed by scores of fans  – not coincidentally, “AGT” was taping its semifinal round feet away in the Dolby theater – but it was the constellation of stars from music and beyond that made it something other than Wednesday in Hollywood.

As Cowell took the podium, he cracked, “Why did this take so long?” And offered: “If anyone says fame is a bad thing, I don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s the best thing in the world.” 

There was plenty of humility too, however as Cowell, visibly moved by the ceremony, honored his late parents and thanked friends, family and colleagues from all over the entertainment world (also in attendance was NBC’s Bob Greenblatt, producer Ken Warwick and Modest Management’s Harry Magee).

Kelly Clarkson, who was crowned the first ever “Idol” winner also at the Dolby (then the Kodak), offered introductory words which reflected on the two of them having “started out together.” The singer credited Cowell’s sincerity and acute ability to find “authentic” talent. “He’s the best friend you can ever have,” she said from the podium, “He’s honest and supportive,” she continued, but paused to note that she “never got the mean [Simon] … I’m still waiting.”

Kelly ClarksonSimon Cowell honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles, USA - 22 Aug 2018
CREDIT: David Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Looking around at the Cowell disciples gathered — among those seated for the ceremony were One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson, “Idol” alums Katharine McPhee (with beau David Foster) and Adam Lambert, Fifth Harmony’s Ally Brooke, Leona Lewis, Grace Vanderwaal, the members of CNCO and the cast of “AGT,” Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Mel B — Clarkson credited Cowell for, “So many careers that you’ve been the kick-start for — and they’re all so different — have come through this man over the years. He appreciates authenticity even if it’s not something he’s into. He appreciates you being yourself. That’s very rare in this industry.”

Speaking for the industry was Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer, who recalled Cowell’s start as a label executive. “He was a fledgling A&R guy who refused to have his office with the other A&R [staff], but rather he sat with the sales department because he wanted to know what was going on in the world,” said Stringer. “On a personal note,” he added, “the two of us grew up pretty much the same time in the 1970s. Britain in the ’70s was not in color, it was in black and white. So when we looked to Hollywood through its TV shows, music and movies, we could only aspire. … Growing up, this is not what either of us expected … to be here today.”

Simon Cowell and Louis TomlinsonSimon Cowell honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles, USA - 22 Aug 2018
CREDIT: David Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Stringer concluded with a declaration: “Simon Cowell is one of the greatest A&R executives in the music business.”

Read Cowell’s speech in it entirety below:

Before we start, I would just like to ask you: why did this take so long? I’m kidding. As Rob [Stringer, Sony Music CEO] said himself, genuinely, I was a massive fan of American television, American movies growing up. I remember the first time I came to Hollywood, and that was a long time ago, thinking it was the most magical place. And now I’m looking down at this. It is so surreal I cannot tell you. And I was thinking of writing down who do I thank. Well, I have to thank the people who gave me a start.

To Fox, for putting our show on initially. To NBC for saving our ass on “Got Talent” because we could not sell this show. And if it wasn’t for NBC, there would be no “Got Talent.” And then I have to thank all of the agents and the producers and of course the artists. I mean, without artists, we have no show and we have no label. And what I’m most proud about I think over anything else is that we’ve become friends as well as business partners.

Lauren, you’ve been my rock for the past few years. Put up with everything I put up with. My friends who’ve flown in from London. There you are. I really do appreciate it. And oh gosh. I suppose one thing I was also thinking about today was who would have got a bigger kick out of this? My mom and dad. And they’re not here, but I have a feeling they’re looking down and now I can look over to my son Eric and say: “Maybe one day you’ll get one of these as well.”

And I also want to thank all the fans who bought the records, who watched the TV shows because again, without that we wouldn’t be here. … It’s been a blast the last 18 years. If anyone says fame is a bad thing, I don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s the best thing in the world. Thank you all of you for turning up and making this happen.

More Music

  • Alicia Keys23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards,

    Alicia Keys Will Return as 2020 Grammy Awards Host

    Alicia Keys will return as the host of the 62nd annual Grammy Awards. Keys hosted the awards show for the first time in 2019. She will become the third woman and the first female music star to host the show twice. Keys has won 15 Grammy awards and is second only to Paul Simon as [...]

  • Lady Antebellum and Halsey53rd Annual CMA

    Halsey Puts the Extra Lady in Lady Antebellum in Elegant CMA Awards Medley

    Halsey is increasingly proving herself a woman for all seasons in her varied TV appearances and awards show collaborations, and Wednesday’s CMA Awards telecast was no exception, as she ingratiated herself into the country vocal trio Lady Antebellum for some flawless four-part harmony on a medley of two of their respective hits. She and Lady [...]

  • Drummers Steve Gorman, left, and Dave

    Steve Gorman Calls The Black Crowes' Reunion ‘Sad’

    The Black Crowes made waves this week when they officially announced a lengthy reunion tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their debut album “Shake Your Money Maker.” The news was chiefly met with excitement and positive vibes, including glowing reviews of their first show in six years at the Bowery Ballroom in New York [...]

  • Lil Nas X53rd Annual CMA Awards,

    CMA Awards 2019: Full Winners List (Updating Live)

    The CMA Awards are taking place at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Wednesday night, with Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton hosting. The ceremony is airing live on ABC. Maren Morris leads the nominations with six total. Nominees and winners were selected by more than 7,400 industry professional members from the Country Music Association. [...]

  • Billie Eilish performs during Music MidTown

    Song Review: Billie Eilish’s ‘Everything I Wanted’ (Listen)

    Virtually everything about Billie Eilish’s career has been against the grain, unusual or at least unlike basically everyone else, and that’s also the case with “Everything I Wanted,” her first new song since July’s “Bad Guy” remix with Justin Bieber. Frankly, it couldn’t be much further from “Bad Guy”: Neither a menacing banger like that [...]

  • Paradigm's Liz Morentin portrait session in

    Paradigm's Executive VP of Communications Liz Morentin to Exit Agency

    Liz Morentin is stepping down from her role as executive vice president of communications at Paradigm, Variety has learned. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, Morentin’s departure was amicable and she will stay on at the agency through the end of the year to help with the transition. No replacement has been named at [...]

  • Carrie UnderwoodThe Grand Ole Opry, Nashville,

    How to Watch the 2019 CMA Awards Online

    Carrie Underwood fans can catch her hosting the 53rd annual Country Music Association Awards Wednesday night. While her usual co-host Brad Paisley has bowed out of the gig this year, Underwood will continue her 12-year streak with Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton joining her. Together, the three will celebrate the biggest names in today’s country [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content