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Thread: **Possible Spoiler** Who Cowell Thinks will win AI3... little Seabiscuit

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    It Just Is. RubyRed's Avatar
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    **Possible Spoiler** Who Cowell Thinks will win AI3... little Seabiscuit

    Here's a link from the NYT:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/19/ar...partner=GOOGLE
    Here's the article:

    Here Comes the Judge: Take Cover, Would-Be IdolsBy Virgina Heffernan

    Published: May 19, 2004


    Simon Cowell, the imperious judge of Fox's call-in talent show "American Idol," was raised just north of London, in a manor house called Abbots Mead. His father was on the board of the record company EMI; after graduating from high school, Mr. Cowell worked in the company's mailroom. He went on to create novelty musical acts of professional wrestlers, the Power Rangers and celebrities like David Hasselhoff. Mr. Cowell made pop stars, in other words, out of athletes, toys and actors.


    But these days Mr. Cowell is known less for eccentric hit making than for high-hatting the contestants on "American Idol," which is now in its third season. (Last Tuesday the show drew 22.8 million viewers.) Sharing a panel with the music executive Randy Jackson and the performer Paula Abdul, he opines, often bluntly, about the live performances, presumably influencing the vote, which viewers register by phone when the live show ends.

    Wrapping up a contentious season, during which the show was dogged by questions about fairness and procedure, two finalists will be named tonight. Who will be cut? Jasmine Trias, the Hawaiian underdog; Diana DeGarmo, the baby-faced power-singer; or Fantasia Barrino, the irrepressible former gospel singer? In the midst of the suspense Mr. Cowell talked about racism, $300,000 cars and the madness of Fantasia. Here are excerpts from the conversation.


    VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN Who's going to win "American Idol"?

    SIMON COWELL Diana DeGarmo.

    HEFFERNAN Oh, good Lord.

    COWELL I thought she was a stage-school brat when I first met her. But she's quite a nice girl. And she's our little Seabiscuit.

    HEFFERNAN Why did La Toya London, who's such a good singer, get kicked off last week?

    COWELL She was very cold. She could have been a robot for all the emotion or personality she put over. And she said something very stupid. She had a little bit of criticism, and she said: "I'm not the slightest bit worried. We're all winners now. We're all going to have successful careers." When she said it, I said, "She's out." Because America decides whether they're going to have successful careers. To say that was verging on arrogance.

    HEFFERNAN You like to punish these people for hubris.

    COWELL I don't like to punish them. But look, lots of them will get record deals. But will they make any money or have a career? I'm dubious.

    I do try to encourage this winning mentality. And I've got to tell you, Clay Aiken is — whatever he says in interviews he is, or was — dreading someone as good as him coming through the ranks. And rightly so. Because he's a winner. It's like me seeing another talent show coming on, and pretending that I'm happy that another friend of mine has done it successfully. I'd be suicidal.

    HEFFERNAN Do you agree with Elton John that the dismissal of the black singers, who have great, powerful voices, is evidence of racism in the voting?

    COWELL That was a throwaway remark. The reality is that those people simply aren't getting enough votes. We have a lot of passive viewers on "American Idol" who enjoy watching, and enjoy the controversy afterward, but don't pick up the phone.

    HEFFERNAN Unlike the other judges, you don't talk much about pitch when you comment on a performance. Why not?

    COWELL I don't think I'm a music expert. I haven't got a clue whether I've got good or bad pitch, and I couldn't care less. I don't like that kind of criticism. This competition is not about who's singing in tune.

    HEFFERNAN What do you like about a good pop performance then?

    COWELL It's like drinking a Häagen-Dazs strawberry milkshake. Just delicious. Why do I like strawberry and not banana? I don't know. I just do.

    HEFFERNAN Are you sentimental?

    COWELL I don't know if I'm sentimental. But there are occasions when a song is sung and you sit back and you let it wash all over you. That's normally like a Tony Bennett song, a good Frank Sinatra song or a good Righteous Brothers song.

    HEFFERNAN What about an "American Idol" song?

    COWELL Could I sit there and listen to these kids sing in a concert? I couldn't stay there for two minutes. I couldn't think of anything worse.

    HEFFERNAN Even a Clay Aiken concert?

    COWELL Are you kidding? I wouldn't last a minute.

    HEFFERNAN Several of the "American Idol" performers have gospel in their pasts, and in interviews they make frequent references to God. What do you make of the religious element to the show?

    COWELL Well, you know the answer to the question, don't you? Obviously a lot of people are using it to gain votes. Come on. You know that, and I know that.

    I also don't like the constant dedications to children. Give me a break. Like Fantasia, who has an edge on her. I think she's used her kid twice now in the show. And you just think: "Enough. You're now behaving like a politician rather than a pop star." It all becomes a bit gruesome.

    HEFFERNAN Maybe Fantasia's cynicism adds to her serpentine appeal.

    COWELL I'll try to think of it that way. With Fantasia there is an element of unpredictability about her, in how she performs, in what she says when she answers you back. There's a hint of madness there, which is good.

    HEFFERNAN Are you a jealous person?

    COWELL I'm competitive. I'm not jealous. I have a lot of friends who are billionaires. I don't envy their wealth. But if I'm releasing a record the same week as one of my competitors who may be a friend, I'm going to do anything in my power to make sure that I'm more successful than he is.

    Look, I was slightly cynical of the American mentality before I came over here, but now I preach it. Here, no one's going to tear you down if you buy yourself a $300,000 car. They're likely to say: "Well, you probably worked hard for it. Good luck to you."

    HEFFERNAN Randy Jackson. What do you think his shambling commentary adds to the show?

    COWELL You know, Randy is incredibly important on the panel because he has, to use an American expression, great energy. And it's very easy to be cynical and down and depressed when you're on this show, and I've never ever seen Randy down.

    HEFFERNAN Are you getting bored with "American Idol"?

    COWELL No. All the things people are complaining about now: the wrong person being kicked out, that person shouldn't be in. I love all that. I think it's interesting.

    HEFFERNAN With all the show's alumni making such bland music, do you ever feel like you're creating monsters?

    COWELL I'm not sure if we're creating monsters. "Idol" wasn't a television company saying, "Let's put on a talent show." It was a record company saying, "Right, we need a vehicle to find new talent." At that time we believed that there was a lack of good solo artists out there. I've always said that with a bit of luck and a bit of skill or whatever this show could last for another 20 years.

    HEFFERNAN Why has "American Idol" done so well?

    COWELL It's only on once a year. It's something to look forward to. It's a very easy show to watch, and I think Fox has been very clever, in that they didn't do what ABC did with "Millionaire," and kill it quickly because they overran it. They kind of looked after it and protected it.

    HEFFERNAN Do you think the show's culturally important?

    COWELL: No, I don't. People might be able to get a reality check: it's not quite as easy to be famous as you think it is. But I don't think it's culturally important, and it shouldn't be.

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    FORT Regular theoslady's Avatar
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    Quite the interesting article, although I can't agree with Simon about Fantasia using her child twice. Maybe once, and then maybe the producers tried to garner some enthusiasm regarding Fantasia by using Zion, but not twice by Fantasia alone.

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    I agree with him on most of the things he said. I did think LaToya lacked warmth and personality, and I thought that night when she didn't have the fight in her to win that she was doomed. Really only a few contestants will have a chance at a career.

    But sheesh, could he find anything nice to say about anyone? Why does he have to diss the past winners? What is his problem with Clay? It seems like in every interview and in his books he has to have snide comments about his success. I mean why say Clay doesn't want the next AI to do well and not Ruben or Kelly?

    I'd like to ask why he never has constructive criticism for anyone. He will put them down and say awful things and never have any suggestions for improvement.

    They so obviously are pushing for Fantasia now it's sickening. I think that will have backlash.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lurkinlady
    But sheesh, could he find anything nice to say about anyone? Why does he have to diss the past winners? What is his problem with Clay? It seems like in every interview and in his books he has to have snide comments about his success. I mean why say Clay doesn't want the next AI to do well and not Ruben or Kelly?
    Let me give you an englishman's spin on another englishman

    The context in which he referred to Clay in the interview was talking about being competitive. And he makes several references to how he himself is very competitive at what he does and that even against friends he wants to come out on top. In bringing Clay into his answers I think he has actually highlighting Clay as being the biggest thing that has come out of AI so far and that despite what Clay might say in interviews, Clay is actually very competitive and wants to stay top dog.

    It doesn't come across as snide to me - it comes across as being brutally honest. Like when he says he wouldn't last a minute at a Clay concert. Cowell is a professional music company executive - just because he recognises that a singer is a marketable product doesn't mean that he has to personally enjoy their particular brand of music.

    Quote Originally Posted by lurkinlady
    I'd like to ask why he never has constructive criticism for anyone. He will put them down and say awful things and never have any suggestions for improvement.
    I think he hints at answers to your question a couple of places in the interview. When asked why he never comments on "pitch" - he says he is not a music expert. He makes a reference to having a preference for strawberry milkshake over banana milkshake. From this I assume that he critiques the contestants based on what he does know (marketability) and on the impression that he gets at the time - often a simple matter of did he like the performance at the time. Which perhaps explains why he sometimes does a complete about turn on a contestant (e.g., from referring to Diana as being too young week after week - to taking that back recently).

    Quote Originally Posted by lurkinlady
    They so obviously are pushing for Fantasia now it's sickening. I think that will have backlash.
    Yes indeed you could well be right about that. And another upset would make for very interesting television. I am not sure that Simon Cowell is too concerned about that. The financial commitment to the winner is peanuts when compared to the revenue from the TV show, the tour, the merchandise, etc.

    Those of us here posting messages in their hundreds and thousands are evidence of the success of American Idol - who wins is pretty well incidental.

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    FORT Regular JoKeRsJiNx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubyRed
    COWELL Could I sit there and listen to these kids sing in a concert? I couldn't stay there for two minutes. I couldn't think of anything worse.

    HEFFERNAN Even a Clay Aiken concert?

    COWELL Are you kidding? I wouldn't last a minute.

    I quite agree with Simon on this. I don't take anything away from Clay, he can sing, but I wouldn't last a minute trying to sit there and listen to his concert or his intire CD. Now I went to Ruben's show and I lasted, although there was one or two songs I was like okay next song, but overal the show was off the hook. I coud go to a Fantasia show, or believe it or not a Amy Adams show. And if Camile gets her self together, her show.

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    Completely LOST pintobean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoKeRsJiNx
    I quite agree with Simon on this. I don't take anything away from Clay, he can sing, but I wouldn't last a minute trying to sit there and listen to his concert or his intire CD. Now I went to Ruben's show and I lasted, although there was one or two songs I was like okay next song, but overal the show was off the hook. I coud go to a Fantasia show, or believe it or not a Amy Adams show. And if Camile gets her self together, her show.
    I for one have been to a Clay Aiken concert and it was great! Your opinion of Clay is my opinion of Ruben. The thought of even going to a Ruben concert has never entered my mind and I probably wouldn't go if someone gave me free tickets!

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    You Ought To See Her Fly Paradigm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubyRed

    VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN Who's going to win "American Idol"?

    SIMON COWELL Diana DeGarmo.

    COWELL I thought she was a stage-school brat when I first met her. But she's quite a nice girl. And she's our little Seabiscuit.
    Interesting he said that. As rumour has it, the winner of AI3 was pre-determined according to someone who auditioned for the show. That winner was NOT Diana Digarmo. It has been all over since, esp. leaked on various sites and forums on the net. Simon or anyone else sure didn't sound like they were in awe of Diana last night. In fact they are constantly giving her a very "Vincent" treatment. If she deserves the kudos as he says then why is she constantly put down, even after a superb performance like last night (when credit was given to Clive for picking the song rather than Diana).

    COWELL I don't think I'm a music expert. I haven't got a clue whether I've got good or bad pitch, and I couldn't care less. I don't like that kind of criticism. This competition is not about who's singing in tune.
    I agree.
    Win or Lose: Diana Degarmo is my American Idol!

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    Fort Freak! funnygirl422's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paradigm
    Simon or anyone else sure didn't sound like they were in awe of Diana last night. In fact they are constantly giving her a very "Vincent" treatment. If she deserves the kudos as he says then why is she constantly put down, even after a superb performance like last night (when credit was given to Clive for picking the song rather than Diana).
    Diana didn't get kudos last night because, quite frankly, she didn't deserve it.

    She tried to carry over her disco night performance in her first song and failed. Second song was way out of her range.

    She's too young.

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    Simon's Prediction

    I think Simon predicts Diana will win in the hopes of helping Fantasia win. I think Simon always using reverse psychology to get the results he really wants. He darn well does not want Diana to win - he wants Fantasia to win. It would be dispicable if Diana won over Fantasia. Especially after those lackluster performances she gave last night.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paradigm
    Interesting he said that. As rumour has it, the winner of AI3 was pre-determined according to someone who auditioned for the show. That winner was NOT Diana Digarmo. It has been all over since, esp. leaked on various sites and forums on the net. Simon or anyone else sure didn't sound like they were in awe of Diana last night. In fact they are constantly giving her a very "Vincent" treatment. If she deserves the kudos as he says then why is she constantly put down, even after a superb performance like last night (when credit was given to Clive for picking the song rather than Diana).



    I agree.
    The question wasn't who deserved to win but who will win and he answered Diana. I think if you asked Simon who should win, he would probably say Fantasia. And Diana fans dont attack me, thats just the sense I get from all his comments and statements. Im not even that big of a Fantasia fan.

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