Simon Cowell: Sticks up for Producers, Wants Britney Spears to Mentor

ETA: I just did a mega-update on this post with quotes from various news sources (and my own sources). Check it out.

Breaking!   Here are a few tidbits from the press conference Simon Cowell held today. Keep checking back, I’ll be keep updating as I get more information:

  • Britney Spears is #1 on Simon’s list of potential Idol mentors for Season 8. I bet she’s on that short list of young mentors Ken Warwick mentioned... Every year the producers ask Paul McCartney to mentor, every year he says no.
  • Simon loved Salt Lake City. He loved everything about it–the air, the people–he had so much fun.   And, he said, “We even had an Osmond…and I liked him!”
  • Like Ken Warwick in his recent conference, Simon was asked several questions about Paula Goodspeed. He said that Paula Abdul could have stopped filming if she felt so scared and uncomfortable in Goodspeed’s presence. He insists that the producers have integrity, and would never force Paula to face a stalker for good TV.
  • He’ll decide next year if he continues as an on camera judge.   He believes Idol could continue for 10 or 20 years, even without him.
  • Simon was not involved in choosing Kara DioGuardi as a 4th judge, but kept an open mind about her.
  • Simon will NOT be dialing back the criticism in the wake of Paula Goodspeed’s death. He doesn’t think the show is inherently mean, and that it’s the judges’ job to remind people that if they suck, maybe they should move on to something else.
  • He still can’t remember Carly Smithson’s name, …I dont think there are as many [ringers] as last year ¦Really I prefer if they are kind of new people and havent had that kind of experience. It doesnt seem quite fair. Having said that the Irish girl in particular was a great singer.
  • On David Cook and David Archuleta, “I have been happy. I mean, these aren’t easy times in the record business at the moment, and y’know, the whole point of American Idol is that you’re giving talented people an opportunity whereas under normal circumstances, they probably wouldn’t get a break or a recording deal. So you, when you see these guys selling records, it makes the whole process worthwhile.”
  • What does he think of their future prospects? “I think they’re both smart, I think they both know what direction they wanna go in. So, I…I’m optimistic.”

Update: (from Billboard):

  • About the Season 7 contestants, “We’ve got an interesting bunch. We got stuck last year with a battle of the blondes — they all looked that same and we couldn’t differentiate one versus the other. We tried to be as broad and as open-minded as possible so we don’t wind up with 12 people from the Stepford Wives.”   WTF? Simon is baked. Last year’s crew had plenty of personality. And there weren’t all that many blonds. OK, maybe there were a few blonds in the Top 24–Alaina, Kady, Garrett, Colton, Robbie and of course, Brooke and Kristy Lee. Some of the Top 24 were pretty bland, but I think they ended up with a decent Top 12.
  • About this year’s contestants, “We filmed Hollywood Week about a month ago. My memory of that is that the guys, overall, were stronger. Five or six of them stood out more than the girls.”

More about Paula Goodspeed from People

  • …Youre talking about a human tragedy…It hit us like an express train. It upset me a lot, ” said Simon.
  • He claims not to remember her audition until he saw footage on TV when the news broke.
  • Paula would not have been in any immediate danger, says Simon, “There are a minimum of seven security guards in the room. You dont see them, but theyre everywhere.”

From the LA Times:

  • On Paula Goodspeed, …Were talking about a tragedy here so I really dont like talking about this person as a stalker. My regret in all of this is we didnt know how troubled this person is but we really didnt know ¦The process is its open auditions, we dont research people ¦I assume that everyone who auditions knows what it like to audition, i.e., if youre not very good youre going to get criticized.
  • On the producers, …These guys have the utmost integrity as human beings. We’re taking them at their word that they didnt know she was as troubled as she was. I spoke to them after the incident they were absolutely horrified.”
  • On the wild-card round being brought back: …I think it a good idea.   I wasnt crazy about the process we went through the last couple years where we were given a group of contestants that you were bored with by show 5.   Simon is confident that judicial intervention will keep in some of the more interesting personalities.   Does this mean the judges will be choosing reality-type personalities to round out the cast, rather than good singers?
  • On new judge Kara DioGuardi, …I have no idea whether this is going to work or not, because I havent seen the shows back yet.   The thing I do support is at least trying new things. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt…She got experience, she written hit songs, she got an opinion which is very very important and she talks a lot ¦She knows what the end product is.”
  • On Diversity, “Trying to be as broad and open minded as possible so that we dont end up with 12 people from the ‘Stepford Wives.’   I think personality is as important as talent. What you hope you end up with is somebody like Fantasia who is not only a great singer but is an incredible person who has a great vibe.

More from MTV and Entertainment Tonight.

  • On Kara and Paula “ganging up” on him, “What guy would like that? C’mon? You’ve got two girls ganging up on you. One is hard enough; two is unbearable. But they’ve both got personalities, they’re both very forceful, and you’ve got to stand [your ground]. At least I’ve got Randy by my side. It’s not that bad.”   He claims he never met or heard of Kara before he heard she joined the cast. Kara is well known in the industry and already had strong Idol ties. I’m calling total bullsh*t on that.
About mj santilli 34833 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!