by Mischalova at . Comments

For those that haven't watched commercials in six months (thanks, DVR!), American Idol premieres tomorrow night.

But will its seventh season be an improvement over a lackluster sixth? Even Simon Cowell admitted that the reality competition needs a kick in the voice box this year.

"I think last year just wasn't one of our better seasons," he recently said to Variety. "The show has got to look better. It's got to be more fun."

According to sources, American Idol producers are expected to give more air-time to competitors and their families this season, a solid move considering how Idol alumni have faced mixed fortunes lately.

A handful â€" such as Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson â€" have thrived; but others such as Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard and Katharine McPhee have actually been dropped by their record labels.

Still, Cowell remains upbeat about keeping American Idol in tune.

"[It's] got a better cast this [season]," he said, adding that contestant-wise, "I will go on record as saying this is one of the strongest years we've had."

by Mischalova at . Comments

Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul are ready for another season of American Idol. They're also prepared for another few months of trading verbal barbs.

Before mocking his fellow judge, however, Cowell first opened up to TV Guide about the crop of talent last season, saying it "just wasn't good enough."

It's hard to argue with that assessment when the debut albums from finalists Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis fared so poorly.

Abdul even agreed with her supposed rival for a change, adding: "I don't remember hardly anyone [from] last year."

From there, though, Paula morphed back into her oddball self, describing the dynamic on the show, as, well, this:

"I'm the nurturing mom who breast-feeds these kids; Simon's the disapproving dad. They come off the nipple and never say, 'Thank you.' They go, 'Daddy, please pat me on the back.'"

But Cowell summed up his partner well - and got us excited for this season of American Idol - by simply saying:

"Paula's possibly more out of touch than she's ever been in her life."

by Mischalova at . Comments

Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell might as well come out as a couple at this point. They fight like a married pair.

You get the feeling that the insults are less serious than celebrity gossip that Britney Spears will actually be joining Cowell as an American Idol judge.

During a recent press junket to promote the launch of E! News in Canada, Seacrest acknowledged that Idol's ratings, while still atop the Nielsen Ratings, had slipped last season - and jokingly blamed Simon for the significant slump.

"Well, the knee-jerk reaction would be Simon," Seacrest said. "Clearly there's an over-saturation of his character."

Seacrest's ribbing was nothing if not good-natured, of course. And the host who crowned Jordin Sparks as this year's champion dialed up his British pal on his radio show yesterday.

"Everything good goes to you," Seacrest told his English friend, endangering the chances that Simon would introduce him to hot countrywomen Lucy Pinder and Michelle Marsh. "If there's any hiccup along the way, we are obligated to blame you. You want the credit, you get the blame."

"When I'm allowed more airtime," Cowell countered, "we get 34 million viewers. When I say nothing and you're talking, we get 12 million less."

"There's a little bit of an ego getting out of control with you," Seacrest shot back. Cowell's solution to drive ratings for season seven? "Let us talk more. When I say us, I mean me."

And so it went, two buddies joking like Paul Sculfor and Victoria Beckham re-living the past.

In the end, Seacrest, who recently performed a widely praised comedic cameo in the film Knocked Up, offered the final straw. "I know you're upset they didn't ask you to be in Knocked Up," he told the judge. "It's okay that [director] Judd Apatow didn't call you. You can't be everywhere all the time. You're one old man!"

by Free Britney at . Comments

If you celebrity gossip readers thought Brittany Murphy and Simon Monjack had a monopoly on Brittany-Simon news this week, well, you were wrong.

Never has Simon Cowell been one to shy away from speaking his mind, even when it comes to pressing pop cultural matters beyond American Idol.

The sometimes-surly, always dead-on Brit is offering up some career advice for Britney Spears, telling the pop star to "go home to your family."

In an interview with Good Morning America Thursday, Cowell said that Britney Spears is capable of saving her free-falling career because she's "still one of the most talked about pop stars on the planet."

"She has the X-factor because people want to write about her," Simon Cowell said. "She's not conventional, she's not normal."

No kidding.

At the same time, Cowell says Britney clearly "can't handle the tension and the pressure" that comes from being in the spotlight so she needs to take some time refocus herself at home.

"Lock the door, don't go out with your stupid friends, have some home-cooked food, get back your sense of reality," he says.

"Go lie in the garden, okay? And then say to yourself, 'There's more good in my life than bad. I'm still a rich, talented girl - now I want to get my career on track.' End of story."

Amen to that.

But the interview wasn't all about Jayden James' crazy mama. Simon Cowell also revealed why he believes Jordin Sparks is the new American Idol.

"Jordin Sparks was the most improved over the whole season," he says. "She didn't start the best but midway through, this was the girl who suddenly got momentum."

Still, Cowell feels that Sparks wasn't necessarily the one who deserved the title. "Melinda Doolittle should have won," Cowell said. "She tried the hardest, was consistently the best and had the best voice."

But Cowell's praise doesn't always have the intended effect and he knows it.

"I think about it now... whether I should have endorsed her as much as [I did]," he says. "I think it was the right thing to do."

by Mischalova at . Comments

Before American Idol fans hear the soothing voices of Blake Lewis and Jordin Sparks tonight, let's listen to the cranky judge everyone loves to hate.

What does Simon Cowell have to say about this week's season finale, along with the futures of various past and present Idols?

American Idol Top Nine

On Finale Predictions
"I think they will both chose their favorite song from what they've done over the past 11 weeks â€" and I'm hoping [Blake Lewis] will do the Bon Jovi song because I thought it was his best performance. And I don't know what Jordin will do."

On Fighting with Ryan Seacrest
"It's rather like having a silly little dog who wants to jump up on your lap and you just swat the dog off. Occasionally in a very stern voice you have to say 'no.' And that's how I deal with Ryan."

On Melinda's Next Stop
"I don't think she should try and compete with too many of the R&B artists out there at the moment. I think she's more of a throwback to people like Gladys Knight and Tina Turner. And I think [Melinda Doolittle] should play to her strengths."

On Contestants Talking Back
"I encourage it. I don't think they do it enough because I think they all think they're going to be voted off if they're rude to me. I think it's the opposite. I think the more rude they are to me, the more votes they'll get. I think off camera they're going completely nuts complaining about me. Then on camera they're just smiling and I don't understand that. I think it should be two-way. If I'm rude to them, they're more than entitled to be rude to me back."

On Sanjaya Malakar Fever
"I would never want to be in a situation where we cast the 12 as just normal people because I think it would be boring. The panel is wacky enough and therefore I think the contestants should be a bit strange as well. And I thought the whole Sanjaya Malakar thing was hysterical. I'm happy now because he's out. I don't think I'd be happy if he was in the finals, so I can now be quite smug about it."

On Kelly Clarkson's New Record
Kelly Clarkson is not an artist who's in it for the money. She has a lot of integrity and this is a record she wanted to make. And I admire her for that. ... It's not as commercial as her last record, but any Kelly Clarkson record at the moment is a pretty good record compared to the competition because she's an incredible artist.

by Mischalova at . Comments

Does it really come as a shock that Simon Cowell isn't a great listener?

During an appearance recently on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, the American Idol judge admitted he's not always paying close attention to performances. So, just what is he up to as hopefuls sing their hearts out?

Haley Reinhart Pic

"I'm taunting [Paula Abdul] throughout the performance," Cowell said. "I'm saying to her, 'Try to say something interesting, try not to use the words mountain and lakes in your critiques because it's always: You'll climb mountains, you'll swim lakes, whatever.' "

But how can Simon judge contestants such as Chris Richardson if he's so busy bugging Abdul?

"I'll tell you a secret," he said. "I watch the dress run so I actually hear much, much easier what they really do sound like."

As for his American Idol picks, Cowell went with the favorites Jordin Sparks and Melinda Doolittle, but added:

"I wouldn't write off Blake Lewis or LaKisha Jones."

by Free Britney at . Comments

Thanks to People magazine for this great collection of the week's top quotes from the celebrity gossip world.

"Rosie O'Donnell has the sexiest, juiciest breasts."
- Tyra Banks, telling Conan O'Brien that she gave The View host a surprising squeeze (which she also once did to Katharine McPhee)

Masked Model

"That's showbiz, but it's not sad because I've loved it here and I love you guys and I'm not going away. I'm just not going to be here every day."
- Rosie O'Donnell, announcing that she's leaving The View

"I hate sleeping alone."
- Lindsay Lohan, who we would like to remind you is 20, explaining why she goes out all the time

"It's nice to be able to just date, because I had never been on a date in my life."
- Lance Bass, on being single

"I was kind of mildly disappointed that nobody went last week. I look forward to that point. Does that sound bad?"
- Simon Cowell, expressing his dismay that no contestant got booted off during the "American Idol Gives Back" charity special, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

"Yes, it sounds bad."
- Ellen DeGeneres, to Simon Cowell

"I figured that we're going to be lonely without you. So, Tim and I thought we should get busy and maybe make a little co-host."
- Elisabeth Hasselbeck, on The View, announcing she's expecting her second child, less than a week after O'Donnell announced she would be leaving the program

"I feel comedically sandwiched."
- Adam Brody, sitting between the host and comedian Garry Shandling, on Late Night with Conan O'Brien

"You can still have Indian food though, right?"
- Jon Stewart, asking Richard Gere about the controversy sparked after he publicly kissed Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty in India

by Mischalova at . Comments

Now that the Sanjaya Malakar dismissal from American Idol has had time to sink in, how does Sanjaya's most vocal critic feel about it?

"I was on a very happy plane last night. I miss him probably in the same way I miss my favorite horror movie. And I don't mean that nastily. I like horror movies," Simon Cowell said via satellite during an appearance on Thursday's The Oprah Winfrey Show. "A very sweet guy. Quite entertaining but a horrible singer. That was the problem."

Season 10 Idol Finalists

During Idol's sixth season, Cowell had made little secret of the fact that he didn't exactly see a singing future for Malakar.

He criticized the 17-year-old's vocal ability almost as much as most guys complimented the legs on Haley Scarnato.

On Thursday, he also felt the need to reiterate his previous comments that he planned on quitting as a judge of the competition depending on how far Malakar made it.

"If he made it to the top three, I'm gone," Cowell told Oprah.

"But they wouldn't let me."

Considering the fact that he was far from a "Fanjaya," who is Simon now pulling for on American Idol? A couple talents came to mind.

"I have a soft spot for [Melinda Doolittle]. Very sweet girl. I like her," said Cowell. "Jordin was sensational this week. Chris I like because he's contemporary. But I'm a little bit worried about singing through the nose... My Top 3 or Top 2 would be Melinda, Jordin and I'm not writing off Lakisha."

In addition to having to suffer through several-too-many Malakar performances than he would have liked, Cowell said there's another aspect of Idol's sixth season that's been bugging him.

"I'm a little bit frustrated. I haven't had enough, 'Oh my God!' moments. I want to see a few more," he told Oprah, adding he thinks fellow judge Paula Abdul has become too sensible. "I love when she talks complete and utter rubbish. We haven't had enough of that the past few weeks."

We don't know about Simon, but seeing Sanjaya hanging out with Petra Nemcova was cause for an 'Oh my God' moment.

by Mischalova at . Comments

Let's give Simon Cowell a break, shall we?

The guy may have an acid tongue from time to time on American Idol, but he certainly didn't mean an ounce of disrespect to anyone involved in the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy from earlier this week.

Go, Didi!

Here's what happened:

On Wednesday's show, Cowell's critique of a song by Chris Richardson â€" in which Cowell accused Richardson of sounding "nasal-y" â€" was cut short when Richardson, after talking about his sound, offered a quick tribute to this week's campus event.

"My heart and prayers go out to Virginia Tech," said Richardson.

"I have a lot of friends over there. Be strong."

The camera then caught Cowell turning to fellow judge Paula Abdul and looking annoyed, replete with an eye roll â€" from there, the judge found himself on the receiving end of some heated criticism from bloggers and TV critics across the country.

This morning, Cowell appeared on the Ryan Seacrest KIIS-FM radio show, with the host saying:

"We've got to clear this up. There are these people on the Internet trying to make something of this story, and let's just be honest, no human being would be that disrespectful to anybody involved in that awful tragedy."

"No, of course not," said Cowell. "And the irony was that we discussed this before the show and wondered, What do you do in a situation like this when something terrible happens? Do you ignore it?"

The decision was made to have Seacrest send out thoughts and prayers from everyone at Idol to begin the show.

As for the criticism he's received, Cowell referred to it as "this crazy story that appeared that I rolled my eyes disrespectfully at Chris because he made the comment ... The truth was is that I had switched off at that point. I was ... saying to Paula, "What does he mean he was singing nasal-y on purpose? I didn't understand what he was saying."

Simon went on to say that the possible boy toy of Lauren Conrad was right to acknowledge the horrific events because he's from that area of the country.

We now hope this non-story is over with. And viewers can focus on what's truly important about the show: the hair of Sanjaya Malakar.

Simon Cowell Biography

New American Idol Judges Simon Cowell is our favorite American Idol judge. He's sometimes mean, but always honest and entertaining. He also knows how to put Paula... More »
Born
Birthplace
Simon Phillip Cowell
Full Name
Brighton, East Sussex, England

Simon Cowell Quotes

It was a little bit like Chihuahua trying to be a tiger.

Simon Cowell [following David Archuleta's attempt to sing a Chris Brown song]

I’d pack your suitcase.

Simon Cowell [to Jason Castro, after the former sung "I Shot the Sheriff"]
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