Simon Cowell Can't Stop Going On About America's Got Talent Premiere's Divisive ‘Parmesan Cheese’ Contestant

Simon Cowell listening to parmesan cheese song on America's Got Talent
(Image credit: NBC)

Following this year’s Memorial Day, NBC dropped the Season 17 premiere of the hit competition series America’s Got Talent, and it was certainly one to be remembered, if not entirely for positive reasons. For every judge-wowing Golden Buzzer winner that hits the stage, such as the premiere’s saxophone-playing Avery Dixon, there are plenty of acts that completely befuddle everyone behind AGT’s judges table, not to mention host Terry Crews. (Terry loves befuddlement.) When it comes to the latest season’s opener, it’s safe to say one of the most divisive and head-scratching performances involved an original jam about parmesan cheese, and Simon Cowell couldn’t stop talking about it on social media.

Before digging into the details, one simply has to watch the actual performance itself, which is a doozy, both from crowd-engaging perspective and from a “what is actually happening right now?” perspective. Here’s Ben Lapidus with… “The Parmesan Cheese Song.”

I feel like this song would be on the compilation Now That’s What I Call Music-ish, or that it would be a D-side track for Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song.” Admittedly, it’s a silly ass song — Big Parma is a magical pun — made all the more impactful by the authenticity that Ben Lapidus brought to it. Granted, it drew X’s across the board from everyone, with Simon Cowell slapping his hand down on the buzzer before 90 seconds had passed. (Good timing, too, as it came right before he said he would “not be shamed” for his cheese intake.) 

As displeased and put off as he may have appeared during that segment of the America’s Got Talent premiere, Simon Cowell seems to have softened somewhat (like a fine cheese, no doubt) in the intervening span since the audition episodes were filmed. In fact, he took to Instagram to make sure that his followers experienced the same parmesan cheese earworm that he was dealing with anew. 

By all means, for Simon Cowell to use any superlative in a criticism, it’s a point of pride, and he somehow used BOTH best and worst when referring to Ben Lapidus’ dairy ditty. He should probably get those words tattooed across his knuckles, Cape Fear style. Was there a song about parmesan cheese in Cape Fear? Probably not.

Given how much attention the unsuccessful performance was, Simon Cowell then asked which of his followers, as well as America's Got Talent viewers in general, actually felt the same way about having to request more cheese at Italian restaurants.

As if Ben Lapidus hadn’t already reached sub-legend status by earning such backhanded praise from Simon Cowell, the longtime (occasionally injured) judge doubled down on his polarized hate-praise with yet another meme-ified post where he once again went the best-worst route. 

It would have been awesome to learn that Lapidus’ parmesan cheese song was all just another completely random prank from former AGT host Nick Cannon, but this is just the kind of act that America’s Got Talent inspires. And it’s also inspired my craving for breadsticks, but it doesn’t look like there were any bakers on the premiere.

America’s Got Talent airs Tuesday nights on NBC at 8:00 p.m. ET, with episodes airing next-day for those with a Hulu subscription.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.