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American Idol Fodder

"Idol" Talk with Simon Cowell

cowell.jpgIt's less than a week before season 7 of "American Idol." Ready for a slew of bad auditions? Judge Simon Cowell isn't exactly pumping up us for the first few episodes.

"It is becoming increasingly like torture," Cowell says about the show's audition process. "You have to give most of the people who come in at least three or four minutes, but it has gotten harder over the years."

Of course, Cowell says even more shocking than the initial performances we'll see is how so many disagree with his judgement. "They got more argumentative with me this year," he says. "All I'm trying to do is help them."

Another person he is looking to help: Britney Spears. Despite her recent endeavors, Cowell still believes there is no such thing as bad publicity and welcomes the troubled singer to "Call me anytime."

Still, Cowell thinks Spears has plenty to be thankful for, aside from her worldwide popularity. "I genuinely think, if I sat down with Britney, I would, number one, remind her of all the good thing in her life, which are her kids, her money, her success – everything," he says. "Then I'd take her out to where she's living at the moment and ask her to go and live with her family and live normally for six months because if you can live normally and do normal things, you'll suddenly find that the Paparazzi aren't camped outside your door everyday."

Celebrity interventions aside, Cowell also spilled a few secrets about the upcoming season. For instance, expect to see more about the contestants and less interaction with the mentors. We'll also see a new set, and that talent doesn't always run in the family. "He was terrible," Cowell says of a recent run-in with former winner Fantasia Barrino's brother. "It was all fantastic until he started singing and then I think we disputed the fact that he really was Fantasia's brother because he doesn't have his sister's talent."

Fantasia may still have her deal, but not all of AI's former contestants have had such luck. Last year's winner Jordin Sparks and runner-up Blake Lewis have posted disappointing album sales. At least they've still got deals, unlike former winners Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard. "I think it's a reflection on the unpredictability of the record business where, fortunately, we have it right more times than we have it wrong," Cowell says. "But, I've run a record label for 25 years and the one thing I know about this business is it is horribly unpredictable."

Speaking of unpredictable: The seventh season of "American Idol" kicks off January 15 on Fox. -- Rachel Cericola

Posted by Rachel Cericola on January 10, 2008 10:19 PM
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you should change the age limit to 15 next year. it's just one year younger and one year before they will try out anyway. simon, please change it

-- 1. Posted by: sushi at March 18, 2008 10:55 PM

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