The live shows on American Idol haven't even kicked off yet and already there is drama. Simon Cowell addressed reports of arguments between he and Ellen DeGeneres, who he'd like to replace him next season and how much he really misses Paula Abdul.
1. Who does he think is going to win? Cowell is all for a woman being crowned the next Idol this season. "We've had a few years now of guys winning the show and I would say there is definitely a better chance of a girl winning the show this year, certainly than last year," he says. "I'd love to find a Taylor Swift, somebody who's relevant rather than just a contest winner."
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2. It seemed difficult to cut Angela Martin and Shelby Dressel. Does he regret it? Two fan favorites, who both had auditioned several times, got the ax before making it to the Top 24. "Well, this was a difficult one because it all happened so quickly," Cowell says. "I think in hindsight it would have been much easier if we could have had maybe five or six days to think about it and really review the performances. But we had limited time and decisions were made relatively quickly on the day. Then when you watch it back you think, 'You know what? I could have made different decisions here.'"
3. Who should replace Cowell? "You have to be good-looking," jokes Cowell. "They really have to have experience so you don't just criticize, but you can actually offer constructive advice as well. You genuinely need to know what you're talking about. I think over the years judges have been replaced by personalities. That, in the long-term, will create problems because you have to be able to spot a star. So whoever replaces me, my advice has always been to find somebody who actually knows what they're talking about and has actually experienced success in the music business."
4. What about Howard Stern? "I know Howard's name has been in there for a while, but I'm fairly certain that there hasn't been an approach at any time for Howard to do the show. As I was saying [the above qualifications], he doesn't seem to fit any of these criteria. He's played records. Maybe that's a good qualification, that he's played records. He's a DJ."
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5. And the other names that have been put forward? Names like Perez Hilton and Noel Gallagher were thrown around, but they may not be Cowell's first choice. "Perez would be funny. You know, he has good taste in music, he's a personality. I mean, that could work," Cowell says. As for the lead singer of Oasis, Cowell thinks it would work only "if you subtitled him."
6. Is he having Paula withdrawls? This is the first time in seven years that Cowell has not been sitting next to Paula on the judges' table. Despite their incessant squabbling, Cowell says, "I do miss her... even though we used to argue a lot, she was somebody I just got very close to over the years. We'd hang out together after the show. She always made me laugh; I always thought she was funny. It was just like not having your friend on the show anymore."
7. Is he fighting with Ellen DeGeneres? Reports that DeGeneres and Cowell have been arguing on set have been greatly exaggerated, says Cowell. "I'll tell you why I think Ellen was a good choice. She actually is very responsible for people she has performing on her own show. I know that for a fact because I've dealt with her as a record label. And she loves music and she's been an artist."
8. Who is Cowell's dream mentor to come on the show this season? "I think we should have Lady GaGa because she is the most relevant pop artist in the world at the moment. I think she should be No. 1. I've met her and she's very smart. I like her."
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9. How does he feel about leaving Idol? Cowell is leaving Idol after nine seasons on the judges' table to start another series on Fox called The X-Factor. "I'm going to feel sad when it all ends, but look, it's much nicer to be popular than unpopular, so I do appreciate it."
Will you be sad when Simon leaves?