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'Idol' judge Simon Cowell talks about Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Hicks


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/31/2007 

Viewers should know by now that the way American Idol judges criticize contestants isn't going to end anytime soon, so they better get used to it.  But Idol judge Simon Cowell said it's mostly all in good fun.

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"What I love about this show is it is politically incorrect. I think, thank God, most people in the world are politically incorrect," Cowell said in an Entertainment Tonight website interview published on January 30.  "And I'm all for that, because otherwise, we're going to live in a very dull world, you know. If people don't like it, they don't have to watch it, but, luckily, I think people take it like I do, with a pinch of salt. They've got a sense of humor."

It would take a skilled mathematician to calculate all of the Idol contestants Cowell has been cruel to during the series' six seasons, but current Academy Award-nominated actress and former Idol 3 finalist Jennifer Hudson is definitely one who took her fair share of lumps from the sharp-tongued British judge.

"I think on balance, I was nice and harsh [to Hudson]. I don't think she was good enough to win the year that she [was on], and I don't think one person watching the show could have predicted that she was going to win an Oscar three years later," Cowell told Entertainment Tonight, not being shy about picking Hudson as his favorite for best supporting actress during the 79th annual Academy Awards on February 25. 

Ironically, Cowell still hasn't seen Dreamgirls, meaning he still hasn't seen the performance that garnered Hudson an Oscar nomination.  But he said he would like to see Dreamgirls, and added Idol producers should try to bring Hudson back for a guest appearance during the Fox mega-hit's sixth season.

"She should come back, 100%," Cowell told Entertainment Tonight.  "She should come back and gloat."  Cowell said he was one of Hudson's "main supporters" when she first began her Idol journey. 

"If it hadn't have been for Idol, she wouldn't have been picked to do Dreamgirls. The public voted her off, not me," Cowell told Entertainment Tonight.  "You've got to remember, at the end of the competition, no managers came along. She was dropped from her management contract; no record labels came along. The fact was, the right producer was watching at the right time and she got a chance in a million and made the most of it, but it wouldn't have happened without Idol."

Cowell said he also believes the public is not influenced by what he and fellow judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul say to the contestants.  He gave the example of Taylor Hicks, who won the fifth season of Idol despite never receiving any ringing endorsements from Cowell.

"I still say Taylor Hicks was not the best singer on American Idol 5.  I think he was the most popular, and at the end of the day, record sales will prove me right or prove me wrong," Cowell told Entertainment Tonight.  "I think he was more popular as a person, and I think there were better singers, and I still stand by that."

During the current season of Idol, Cowell said there are three or four people that stand out, but added, "At the end of the day, we only need one." 

"To me it smacks a little bit of season one where you can't spot an obvious [winner], so it could be a dark horse who's going to win, but I prefer that," Cowell told Entertainment Tonight.  "When someone like [Idol 4 winner] Carrie Underwood walks in you just go, 'Okay, fine. She's won,' and it's not that interesting. I think [Idol 6] is going to be more like the first season."


(Photo credit Fox)


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