Voices

Perhaps we are entering a new cold front in our emotional weather

Album: Susan Boyle, I Dreamed a Dream (Syco)

The success of Susan Boyle provides an interesting metaphor for the decline of manufacturing in the information stage of late capitalism.

Album: Il Divo, An Evening with Il Divo: Live in Barcelona (Syco)

The invention of "Operatic Pop" may be Simon Cowell's musical legacy. Togged up in Armani, the quartet Il Divo here run through their repertoire – pop ballads like "Nights In White Satin", "Without You" and "My Way" given Italian translations and belted out with orchestral accompaniment – in front of 20,000 fans in Barcelona.

'Deluded' Jedward getting worse, says Cowell

X Factor judge Simon Cowell may have saved John and Edward, but today he blasted them as "deluded" and declared: "They're not aware how bad they are."

TV world-beaters? These Britons say they've got talent

Simon Cowell and Sir Philip Green are joining forces to create an entertainment business with global ambitions, reports Chris Green

Simon Cowell's ex-girlfriend 'in fear for her life'

Simon Cowell's former girlfriend was granted a temporary restraining order against a woman accused of choking her outside the American Idol finale.

Il Divo, 02 Arena, London

The Three Tenors with boy-band looks, singing The X Factor's karaoke songbook: the equation Simon Cowell made to arrive at Il Divo seems simple enough. Thirty million album sales later, the sum adds up, commercially. But for the three thirtysomething opera singers and one minor French pop star who answered Cowell's latest talent search, something rings hollow. The opera men – American tenor David Miller, Swiss tenor Urs Buhler and Spanish baritone Carlos Marin – were established singers, committed to honing their art, before being able "to pay my rent for a year", in Buhler's words, diverted them. That was five years and four albums ago. Il Divo is their artistic life now: operatic vocals shorn of opera's epic emotional sweep, but gifted with a huge audience. Unlike the desperate hopefuls Cowell toys with on TV, these men have given something up to be here, and know it. Every note is compromised. But within Il Divo's weird musical shackles, they give everything they can.

Cowell denies deep freeze plan

Simon Cowell's camp has denied he is planning to have his body frozen after he dies.

Guy Adams: Cowell is an export who shames Britain

LA Notebook

(and how to holiday like a Prime Minister)

Pop moguls fall out over copycat show claims

In the greatest battle of the moguls since the days of Akbar the Great, Simon Fuller, the Spice Girls' Svengali, yesterday declared war on his former ally, Simon Cowell, the self-styled sultan of swing.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?