Here’s an interesting interview with Simon from the NY Post:
“And for Cowell, ‘Idol’ almost ended after the last season.
For the last two seasons, behind the scenes ‘there was a horrible tenseness going on for a while. I genuinely felt that I’d had enough, ‘ he says.
‘I was worried about it. I thought maybe this is all a bit too much, this stress. I wasn’t sleeping well, ‘ Cowell says. “And here we are, having a nice lunch at The Ivy, having a bowl of soup, the odd cigarette. It’s a nice life, isn’t it? It’s only stressful if everything else fails.’
As for Abdul and Jackson, Cowell has finally accepted the dysfunction of the ‘Idol’ family.
‘I genuinely couldn’t do this show with anyone else because I’m so comfortable with them now, ‘ he says. ‘And I think a sign of being comfortable is making fun of each other, arguing. So the fact that Paula and myself are literally like Tom and Jerry at times, I think, is a sign of affection.’
But, he adds, ‘I’m not afraid to antagonize her, because I quite like it.'”
“‘On our show, you have 12 people the public has probably never heard of, catapult them to stardom, and then you start hearing: They’re tired. Right.
What is tiring about getting into a limousine, doing a photo shoot, and performing in front of 40 million people? I’ll show you what tired is! Come with me for a week and I’ll get you some terrible audiences, you’re not gonna get paid, the transportation’s gonna be hideous, the hotel room’s going to be appalling, the audience will hate you and the food is crap. Then you tell me about being tired.’
Equally disappointing is the lackluster careers of most Idol winners. ‘It’s like every artist in the world today, particularly when you don’t write your own material. You are always at the mercy of what your next song is. I can’t sing you one of Ruben or Fantasia’s songs. But I can remember in my mind all the big Kelly songs. The simple answer is Fantasia’s songs aren’t as good as Kelly’s are.'”
Fantasia won the competition Season 3. The show’s producers have a financial stake in her career–they must have had some control over the song selection for Fantasias debut CD. Right? A little disingenuous there, aren’t you Simon?
Here’s an article from MTV.com that asks the question If it weren’t for Bo, could Chris rock out on Idol?. The conclusion is, probably not:
“‘I told Bo that he is the reason that I auditioned, ‘ Daughtry said. ‘I always thought that it was a little cheesy and it was real pop-oriented and I didn’t think that I would be able to be myself, but when I saw him, he came out here and did his rock thing and everybody accepted it and he got very far. I thought, ‘You know what? There is nothing stopping me from doing it.’ ‘
‘Bo opened up a lot of doors for a lot of people, ‘ added Bucky Covington, an eliminated rocker finalist. ‘I think he did the show a lot of good by coming on. He did a heck of a job, and so far with his career he’s doing a fine job … and I thank him very much for it.'”
But don’t forget Constantine!
“Talent certainly carried Bice through the semifinals and finals — as it did for fellow season-four rocker Constantine Maroulis…’Can we take a little credit for that? [rockers on the show] Is that OK?’ Maroulis asked. ‘Just getting in there and doing our thing, no rules, no holds barred. I mean, neither Bo nor I had ever even seen the show.'”
And according to Shirley Halperin, who covers ‘Idol’ for Teen People:
“[Bo and Constantine made it] ‘OK for rockers who deem themselves to be ‘credible’ musicians to appear on American Idol…Like it wasn’t so uncool that you’d never recover.”
However, lest we forget–Jon Peter Lewis was singing rock tunes Season 3. I’d say he was AI’s first rocker. Says Lewis:
“‘I was doing what Taylor is doing before Bo and Constantine…I’m not so sure that Bo or Constantine would have been given a chance in auditions if I hadn’t been successful with more rockin’ tunes.'”
Although JPL was eliminated back in 8th place, I think his wild card performance of Elvis’s “A Little Less Conversation” was successful. Not only did it create some media buzz–but it propelled him to the Top 12, where Simon declared him “the dark horse” to win it all. I think that performance established that music other than R&B and straight pop could be viable on the Idol stage.