|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on January 20, 2012 at 8:45 AM|
The worlds of space tourism and celebrity often collide, especially when you combine arch-publicists like Richard Branson and British pop-impresario Simon Cowell.
Now Cowell has vowed to turn the relationship on its head by sending a guaranteed non-celebrity from Britain’s Got Talent into space on the first flight of Branson’s Virgin Galactic.
Speaking to British tabloid newspaper The Sun, Cowell promised ‘Richard genuinely is up for doing it. I'm not winding you up, Richard would pay for it’.
Branson’s Virgin Group is the sponsor of the 2012 edition of the popular bread-and-circuses prime time TV filler, and the two have been negotiating over a deal to fly the winner on Virgin Galactic, which The Sun claims will launch this year.
Cowell adds: “I'm being serious. You could be the first singer or dog act, whatever, performing in space.
“I would go on the spaceship myself — you have to have a lot of training.”
Unfortunately, Cowell demonstrates a sad lack of understanding of what happens in zero gravity: “We have to think about the details, I mean, if you're a juggler then we'll need to make heavier balls.”
“I love the idea that, if they are up for it, then they have the option of performing in front of the whole planet in space.
"If it had been a few years ago Susan Boyle could have been singing Unchained Melody in front of the whole planet.”
Boyle shares a ballistic flight profile with Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo, having been flung from the gravity of obscurity into the stars, before gravity dragged her down to Earth.
Both Cowell and the show’s winner are likely to be gifted return flights. We can only hope that in space, no-one can hear you sing.
Space tourism has had near misses with pop music in the past: former Nsync (remember them?) singer Lance Bass (remember him?) was lined up to visit the International Space Station with Space Adventures, until the Soyuz tourist programme was grounded following the Challenger disaster in 2003.
Incidentally, the idea of 'performing in front of the whole planet in space' conjured visions of Father Ted explaining ‘near’ and ‘far away’ to Father Dougal - so here it is (and here's the link if it doesn't embed):