Idol chatter with Simon Cowell

The seventh season of American Idol is about to hit us like a ton of musically gifted bricks, and fans nationwide are bracing themselves for an onslaught of awful auditions, ruthless competition, and newly minted stars.

The real fun of Idol, though, lies in the antics of its three famous judges. We're looking forward to the usual "aiight, dawgs" from Randy Jackson; inexplicable antics from Paula Abdul, and undiluted criticisms from Simon Cowell, who took a moment to chat with reporters this week. Topics covered included the ongoing writers' strike, the agony of auditions, and the upcoming season.

Fans can expect a spanking-new Idol set this year, Cowell promised, along with some instrumentally enhanced auditions and more focus on the contestants' personalities. The most important change, however, lies in the talents of the latest crop of competitors.

"Most of our focus this year was to make sure that we got a better top 12 and a more interesting top 12 than what we got last year," Cowell explained. "I'm pretty certain that we have that this year, so that's the most important thing...you're going to see an improved show with much, much better singers and more interesting contestants."

Of course, the talent of a singer--as well as his or her success on Idol-- is not always a predictor of future achievement. Though several Idol alums have moved on to sold-out tours and Grammy nominations, others are experiencing a surprising slump in popularity. J Records recently dropped Taylor Hicks and Reuben Studdard, both winners of previous seasons, and poor record sales are plaguing Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis, who took first and second place last year.

"I think it's a reflection on the unpredictability of the record business," theorized Cowell. "I've run a record label for 25 years, and the one thing I know about this business is it is horribly unpredictable. Am I surprised? Not particularly...you literally have to give the public what they want, and the public decided this year it wasn't necessarily what they wanted. So, we have to try and do [what the public wants] this year, and I'm confident that we will."

After months of sitting through Idol auditions, Cowell is exhausted but optimistic. "It is worthwhile. Is it fun doing it? No. It is becoming increasingly like torture. What's amazing, even after seven seasons...is how much they still believe that they're right and I'm wrong. All I'm trying to do is help them."

That torture, however, is exactly the thing that makes for addictive television, as Cowell must agree. "I think you have to have that mix within the show," he admitted. "I think if it was completely sanitized, the audition process, that everybody came in and they were just competent, I think it would probably be the most boring show on TV. So, it's fun for me to watch. It is torture for me to do it."

Luckily for Cowell and his counterparts, the unscripted Idol is out of reach of the destruction caused by the striking Writers Guild of America. Many suspect that the already-formidable series will find a ratings windfall in the absence of scripted competition, but Cowell doubts this will be the case.

"When we found out about the writers' strike, it had absolutely zero impact on us," he said. "In the last three or four years, no one has ever put anything up against our show. So our success is down to the quality of our programs. I don't think it's going to have an impact on us either way."

Beginning tonight, American Idol will air on Fox Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. Once you've seen a few of those fabulous auditions, let us know who you think will win it all this year!

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Luv ya, Simon. Keep doing what you're doing. So the translation of that article is that you went harder then ever on contestants during auditions. X), I think even if you completely told me I was a horrible singer, I'd still luv u! Does anyone know when American Idol is coming on again in 2009?
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Hi Simon,... I always watch American Idol here in the Philippines... U have a Killer Smile huh????:) I know your criticsm makes an idol contestant more competitive and do their very best to make you satisfy and specially their audience...its ANGELA CARLA FROM NUEVA ECIJA PHILIPPINES
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i agree that Ruben and Taylor was not that entertaining. i loved Carrie, Kelly, Daughtry and Bucky. Bucky's new CD is great I love it!! I love Simon and I agree with everything he says!!

Lu
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i like it
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Sophia, this ones for you. You must not have any education in which you can read, THIS IS NOT A SEX SITE, and must be pretty desperate to have to resort to grasping for Idol fans to try and get old men. NO did not look at your website but it will be banned,
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Simon Cowell.I love you. But you should not date at agelessonly.com in December. The news told that you was dating with a 18 years girl which lives in New York .True or Fake? Please do not do such kind of things again.
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I always said nor Ruben nor Taylor were good performers.. they can sing... but I never liked to watch them or to hear them... Clay was supposed to win season 2, and clearly Daughtry shows everyone who deserved to win season 5... even though I think Katharine was amazing too.. As far as Carrie & Kelly goes.. they can't be doing any better.. and Jordin and Blake.. are not THE hottest thing ever... but I personally love Blake's ADD album... I don't know why it's not a hit... and about Sparks, I get it.. because her cd is just average.. she has way more talent than that.. I don't know... However, I'll watch idol this year as well.. because is always fun to sea Simon suffering (love you Cowell!).. and you can always catch a couple of good singers every season.. So, if you like AI, or you liked it before.. I definetely recommend you don't stop watching it
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i'll pass
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I don't know if I'm gonna like the changes. The idea about having the people playing their own instruments in the LA auditions is a bit much. It is kind of strange that Taylor has been having a hard time with sales, cause I though his CD was good, as do alot of people I've talked to.



I'll have to give it a couple of episodes before I totally decide if the new changes are ok or too over the line and I'll stop watching.
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don't think i will be watching again...
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ok please voted new england person to make top 12 of this season I from MA
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That's right, some of the Idol winners aren't really popular.:| And if they promise a better season coming, then I'm seriously watching.:D
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