Simon Cowell may be the most judgmental man on television, but his unique ability to humorously insult terrible singers has made him an indispensable part of the American Idol juggernaut. To gear up for the big two-night, four-hour premiere of Idol season 7, Cowell gave an exclusive interview to the press to discuss what we can expect from the new group of talent on display. As expected, Cowell couldn’t resist mentioning some of the “shockingly bad” acts he saw during the audition process, but he also promised that we may be surprised by how talented some of the newcomers are.
One of the most interesting things Cowell discussed are the changes fans can expect in season 7 of the series. The main focus for the producers this year was to get a better and more interesting group for the top 12, especially after last year’s Sanjaya-tainted talent pool. Cowell also mentioned that the series will focus more on the personal lives of the singers, as previous seasons haven’t really allowed viewers a chance to get to know the contestants. It’s all about balance, which means that there will likely be less time spent with famous mentors and more time diving into who the contestants are as individuals.
Other changes viewers can expect include a brand new set, as well as the opportunity to see the contestants play their own instruments when they move to the Hollywood rounds. Cowell said that allowing the instruments didn’t make much of a difference when it came time to find the big talents, but it should make for some entertaining television.
When asked whether it was getting harder for him to sit through bad auditions as the show moves into its seventh year, Cowell replied that it’s become “increasingly like torture.” Not only are the talentless people becoming more argumentative with him than ever, but the judges have to give them three to four minutes regardless of the pain they inflict. However, he admitted that the series needs a mix of good and bad contestants, otherwise it would be boring to watch.
Viewers may be surprised to learn that one of the most horrendous contestants was the brother of former Idol winner Fantasia Barrino. “He was terrible,” Cowell lamented. “Absolutely dreadful. He can’t sing. We disputed the fact that he really was Fantasia’s brother, because he doesn’t have his sister’s talent.”
Two former Idol stars who definitely do have talent are Blake Lewis and Jordin Sparks, but unfortunately talent hasn’t translated into album sales for either of them. Cowell blamed the unpredictability of the record business for the poor sales. He pointed out that Idol has churned out more successful artists than failures, but that there’s simply no way to predict what the record buying public is going to want. “Ruben [Studdard] should be on his third or fourth album by now, but it didn’t happen,” he said.
When not pondering the future of Idol, Cowell took some time to comment on the Britney Spears situation. Cowell said that it’s “never too late for a comeback” for someone with Britney’s level of fame and notoriety. If he had the chance to sit down with her, he said he’d point out the positive things in her life, such as her kids, her money, and her success, and then force her to leave her home and go live for six months with her family. “She’s welcome to call me anytime,” Cowell added.
Though the American Idol juggernaut is still as strong as ever, Cowell admitted that his time with the show will have to come to an end eventually. He currently has two more years left on his contract, and has a feeling that a total of nine seasons may be just enough. He also doesn’t think the series will suffer without his trademark quips and insults.
“Can the show exist without me?” he pondered. “Absolutely. It’d probably get better.”
– Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of FOX)