Simon Cowell dishes about 'American Idol 5's Top 24 semifinalists
By Reality TV World staff, 02/20/2006
Now that the identities of American Idol 5's semifinalists have been revealed, judge Simon Cowell has begun weighing in with his own thoughts about the show's twenty-four fifth season semifinalist singers, as well ousted twins Derrell and Terrell Brittenum.
As he has stated in his previous comments about American Idol 5, Cowell reiterates that unlike previous seasons, he doesn't feel as though any of the fifth season's singers is a clear-cut favorite to win the competition.
"I'm more interested in this bunch than I've been the last three years because it's less predictable," Cowell told the New York Post in an interview published Friday. "At this time last year, I said there's a young girl named Carrie Underwood who is going to walk through this competition. I couldn't do that with this group this year."
"You're not going to find twelve amazing singers this year," Cowell added. "But you're going to get twelve characters, I'm sure of that," he said. "It's a real sort of chocolate box of talent -- or lack thereof."
Cowell elaborated further during a guest-hosting appearance on Friday's Live with Regis and Kelly. "It's more open this year... you know last year we all knew Carrie Underwood was going to win," the Idol judge explained. "It's a more open competition, it's more exciting. So ya, it's a better show this year."
Cowell also voiced in about some of the competitive infighting occurring between Idol's contestants -- behavior that he admits he helped stir up.
"What we did this year was before we used to go into the audition rooms we would sit with everybody like I'm talking to the audience today and say basically 'Look, you know the score, most of you are terrible, you're going to get a hard time, even though you don't think so -- and if you don't like what I've got to say, say it to my face.' You know, if I say 'You're horrible,' don't say 'Thank you' because you're going to regret it" Cowell explained to Live co-host Kelly Ripa. "So I think we stirred them up a bit. But we've just got a veryyy... angry bunch this year, which I quite like."
"I'm feel more comfortable with it. You know the ones who show it upfront, I'm more happy with that than the people who are nice in front of the camera and are complete monsters, you know, backstage."
By that measurement, Brenna Gethers, an outspoken 25-year-old from Mt. Vernon, NY, is among the semifinalists making Cowell the happiest. "There's a girl who we got... who got through, Brenna, who is a complete and utter nightmare, but I like her," the Idol judge explained. "Because I know where I stand with her, she's no pretend, she's not pretending to be nice."
"I absolutely hated them... I did," Cowell told Ripa. "And I could have got rid of them early but I figured 'You know what, I'm going to keep you in for as long as possible because I want to slowly torture you,'" he explained. "It was my little flies and those were the legs and was slowly pulling them off."
However once reports of their legal troubles surfaced, Cowell was denied his chance to personally inform the twins that they wouldn't be advancing past American Idol 5's Hollywood round. "Unfortunately I couldn't tell them to their faces that they hadn't made it through to the Final 24 because we found out a few bits and pieces about them," Cowell lamented. "They were absolutely repulsive."
But despite his personal contempt for them, according to Cowell, it's contestants like the Brittenum twins who help keep the show interesting. "I like the controversy Kelly, I think if they were all squeaky clean it would be a boring show," Cowell remarked to Ripa.
"When we made the decisions about who was going through, we tried to mix it up as much as possible so that there would be people who the audience would genuinely be interested in," Cowell added in his Post interview. "It's a drama. When we first pitched the show, we said 'This is a soap opera with a music backdrop. It's much more about that thumbs-up or thumbs-down than the music.'"