'American Idol's' Simon Cowell on his replacement: 'Got to be good looking'

simon-cowell-idol-9-320.jpg Simon Cowell talks about a female winner for "American Idol" season 9, possible replacements and the rumored tensions between him and judge Ellen DeGeneres.

On whether a male or female will win "Idol" this season:
We've had a few years of guys winning the show and I would say there is definitely a better chance of a girl winning this year, certainly better than last year. You want somebody who represents what's going on at the moment, I'd love to find a Taylor Swift, somebody who's relevant, rather than just a contest winner.

On his replacement:
You've got to be good looking and you've got to know what you're talking about. I'm starting to realize... that we have to put people on these shows who know what they're talking about... They have to have experience so you're not just criticizing.

When we first started we had a producer, an artist and an A&R man. Someone who's had managerial experience is always really helpful. It's like if you judge the ice skating at the Olympics, you need to know what you're talking about. A lot of judges have been replaced by personalities, so my advice is find somebody who actually knows what they're talking about and has experienced success in the music business.

You've just got to find somebody who can actually make a difference to the contestants, who's not afraid to speak their mind and be blunt, but not gratuitously rude. I'm really getting tired of that now ... The good news for them is there is no shortage of candidates. The hardest part about finding a replacement is when you hear names like Madonna it will never happen. You've got to give a massive, massive time commitment. You've got to find people who are prepared to give up that much time.

So is Ellen DeGeneres qualified to judge "Idol?"
I was just talking about my replacement. Ellen is musical and she's an artist and she works with the musical acts on her show. My replacement needs to be someone who has experience running a record label.

On if Howard Stern could judge:
He's played records, maybe that's a qualification. He obviously wants the job, good luck to him.

On Perez Hilton as possible judge:

He's got great taste in music. He's a personality.

Noah Gallagher from Oasis:
Do you think people would understand him? He's very funny and a brilliant songwriter so it's a possibility.

On rumored tension between him and Ellen:
I wouldn't say that we didn't get on well. It was a difficult position for her because she started on Hollywood Week. There was one story I read where I turned up an hour late and the truth was I turned up 15-20 minutes late but that wasn't a particular problem. There was no fallout. I was trying to guide her through the week and that was about it.

On missing Paula Abdul:

Paula's my friend, amazingly, even though we used to argue a lot. She's someone I got very close to over the years, we'd hang out after the show. I always thought she was funny, so it's like not having your friend on the show anymore, I do miss her.

On disqualified contestant Chris Golightly:
I remember Chris' first audition very well because Kara was completely and utterly besotted of him. I wasn't quite so keen on him and the second time we saw him he wasn't as strong. I really honestly don't have a clue why he's been removed from the competition. I'm guessing it's some sort of technical reason. It's a shame for him, he needed this opportunity.

Would Simon have Golightly audition for "X Factor?"

If it was something like a technical reason, of course he could.

Who would be the ideal mentor on "Idol?"
We've had some pretty good people, haven't we? I think we should have Lady Gaga because she is the most relevant pop artist in the world at the moment, so I think she should be No. 1. I've met her and she's very smart, I like her.

Will Simon fade into the background this year since he's departing?
That would be impossible. I'll keep my seat, hopefully be the last one to speak. I want to go out on a high, I've said this over and over again. It's my last season and I'll do everything I can to make the last season successful.

Advice for contestants:
Don't always do the obvious. Find something that is unique and interesting to you. And suck up to me, that always helps.

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'American Idol' on Zap2it: News | Recaps

Photo credit: FOX