A few weeks ago I posed the question of whether or not American Idol could survive without Simon Cowell. The general consensus was that it simply couldn't because he was the man everyone started out loving to hate but now just loves. But I also offered some speculation at who might replace him. Today Cowell-- the man, the myth, the legend himself-- weighed in on the same issues.
"It's interesting that when [Idol] first started, we had a record producer, an artist, and an A&R man [as judges], so you had covered pretty much everything," Cowell explains. "I think over the years judges have been replaced by personalities. That in the long-term will create problems because you've got to be able to spot a star."
So what is Cowell's advice in finding a successor? "He's got to be good looking!" He jokes, but he is quick to point out that he also has to "know what he's talking about...They really gotta experience so they don't just criticize but can offer constructive advice as well. My advice has always been to find somebody who actually knows what they're talking about and has had actual success in the music business."
But having a killer wit and unrelenting honesty can't hurt, right??
Howard Stern's name has been in the running the press for awhile now, though Cowell says that as far as he knows, no deal is on the table. Blogger Perez Hilton and Producer Steve Lillywhite have both made public pleas for the seat, as well, though. Cowell admits that "Perez would be funny. He's got a good taste in music; he's a personality; I mean, it could work."
But for now Cowell is taking things one day-- and one episode of the current (ninth) season of Idol-- at a time. Though he misses Paula: "She was just somebody I got really close to over the years. We'd hang out a lot after the show. She always made me laugh," he also admits to "guiding" Ellen through her first few appearances at Hollywood Week. Maybe he is simply grooming her to step into his "head of the table" role when he leaves before the tenth season...?
"We had a limited time, and the decisions were made rather quickly on the day. But then you watch it back and you think 'Yeah, I could have made different decisions,'" Cowell is blunt as always. He urges Randy, Kara, and Ellen to take a "trust your instincts" approach when making their selections but also to remember to consider both talent and personalities. After all, they are making an entertaining television show, as well as trying to find the next big pop star.
And just what does Cowell think about all of the talk in the media (from myself included) that he is irreplaceable as a judge and the show maybe should-- and probably will-- tank without him? He is uncharacteristically (at least according to his on-screen persona) humble in responding: "It's very, very flattering, and I really do appreciate it, but...the show goes on. I'm going to feel sad when it all ends, but it's much nicer to be popular and appreciated!"