American Idol judge Simon Cowell gives us the scoop on this season's contestants, leaving Idol, and how he really feels about new judge Ellen DeGeneres.
J-14: Some of the contestants this season don't have the typical "Hollywood look." Is that going to be a challenge for them?
Simon Cowell: I think it's good that we have a mixed bag this year. I mean, the reason we put a variety of people through is I think primarily [based] on talent and interest in them as people. A few years ago, I remember every blond girl in the competition looked identical; I couldn't tell one from the other. I think it's important that you can recognize talent and personalities -- it's about remembering people.
J-14: What do think about Idol's newest judge, Ellen DeGeneres?
Simon: I think Ellen was a good choice. She loves music!
J-14: What does it feel like to have everyone say, "Simon Cowell is pretty much irreplaceable. We don't know who else could fill his shoes!"
Simon: It's very, very flattering. It's much nicer to be popular than unpopular, so I really do appreciate it. I'm going to feel sad when it all ends, but the show goes on.
J-14: What do you think are the most important qualities needed to be your replacement on AI?
Simon: You have to be good looking. Secondly, I think you just have to know what you're talking about. [You] really have to have experience so you don't just criticize, but you can actually offer constructive advice as well. You have to be able to spot a star.
Photo: Michael Becker/FOX