Simon Cowell says he gets along with Ellen, Perez Hilton would make "funny" Idol judge, Howard Stern not approached
He thinks cyber-gossip king Perez Hilton would be "funny" if he replaced him on the show.
He says the reason big stars like Madonna wouldn't take his spot on Idol is because the show demands too much time.
He really is friends with Paula Abdul (but didn't say whether she was joining his new show, The X-Factor).
Even though he insists someone with music business experience replace him, he thinks Ellen DeGeneres was a good choice to join the show and doesn't have any beef with her now.
Those were the high points of 20-minute telephone conference call interview Cowell granted the press today. Because only a limited number of reporters got to ask questions, I couldn't get in a query about the two Tampa Bay area singers who landed in the Top 24 -- Janell Wheeler and Michael Lynche.
It was a tough day for Idol in some ways. NBC was gloating over ratings from Wednesday showing 12-million more people watched their Winter Olympics coverage (30-million) than watched American Idol (18-million), handing the show its first ratings loss in six years.
And fans were buzzing over the show's decision Wednesday to replace Top 24 semifinalist Chris Golightly with Tim Urban. Golightly says he was disqualified because the show feared he was bound by a record deal that had expired, but the record label owner has said the singer was still bound by the deal.
Cowell punted on that question, saying he had no idea why Golightly was disqualified. He also tried putting a few other rumors to rest, congratulating shock jock Howard Stern for fueling interest in his joining Idol by talking about it on his radio show but concluding "I’m fairly certain that there hasn’t been an approach at any time for Howard to do the show."
He also insisted that he and DeGeneres have gotten along well, denying a news story that said he angered her by showing up an hour late for the first Hollywood Round taping. "It was a difficult position for her because she started work on Hollywood Week, which is quite a difficult show to do....The truth was I turned up 15 or 20 minutes late because I did a press conference earlier in the day. There was no fallout. I was trying to guide her through the week."
And who should replace him as a judge on Idol? "When we first started, we had a record producer and an artist and an A&R man, so you’ve covered everything you need to do....It’s like if you judge the ice skating at the Olympics. If you’re.going to give a score, you genuinely need to know what you’re talking about. Over the years, judges has been replaced by personalities. That’s going to cause problems. Because you’ve got to be able to spot a star."
What about Stern? "As I was talking, I realized he didn't fit any of that criteria. He’s played records. Maybe that’s a good qualification.He's a DJ."
Cowell also hopes to see a woman take the Idol prize, thanks to the success of artists such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga and a certain teenaged country pop queen. "You want someone who represents what is going on at the moment. I’d love to find the next Taylor Swift, somebody who’s relevant rather than just a contest winner."
And Idol has even provided every semi finalist with their own show-approved Twitter feed, Facebook page, and MySpace page. Check them all out by clicking here.