On the winner: “There is definitely a better chance of a girl winning this year…You want somebody who represents what is going on at the moment. I would love to find a Taylor Swift. You want somebody relevant, not just a contest winner…The guys are real equal.”
On the Top 24 choices: It all happened so quickly. It would have been much easier if we’d had five or six days. But we had a limited time and decisions were made relatively quickly.” Simon said you just have to live with the decisions. “And they can always audition the next year…It’s good that we have a mixed bag this year. It’s about remembering people. If you can remember somebody it’s a good place to start.”
On what happened with Chris Golightly: “I remember [during his first audition] that Kara was utterly besotted with him. I really honestly don’t have a clue. I’m guessing it was some sort of technical issue.” When asked if Chris could now audition for “X Factor,” Simon said, “I have to find out what [the issue] was first.”
On what the contestants need to do: “You’ve got to be original. The reason David Cook did so well was that he managed to find interesting versions of songs. He was smart. Don’t always do the obvious. And suck up to me. That always helps.”
On what mentors he would like to have this season: “I think we should have Lady Gaga. She’s the most relevant artist in the world right now. I think she should be number one. She’s very smart. I like her.”
On what he says during the show: “I don’t go in there with a pre-conceived notion. I try to be in the moment. You’re there to be honest, truthful but most importantly to say what the people at home are thinking.”
On General Larry Platt: “It’s an interesting thing.” Simon said he has always found older people fun and interesting, which is why there’s no age cap on “X Factor.” “For him I’m absolutely thrilled.”
On whether he is feuding with Ellen: “There’s been no falling out…I don’t know Ellen that well. It was a difficult situation for her [coming o the show during Hollywood Week]. Directly addressing the stories about him being an hour later for taping one day, he said he “turned up 15 or 20 minutes late” because he had his “X Factor” press conference earlier that day, but he said it “wasn’t a problem.”
On “Idol” without Paula: “Paula is my friend. She always made me laugh. It’s like not having my friend on the show anymore. I do miss her.”
On the reaction to him leaving: “It’s very flattering and I really do appreciate it but the show goes on. I’m going to feel sad when it all ends…It’s better to be popular than unpopular.”
On his last season: “I want to go out on a high. I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen.” Simon also said something else very interesting about that, “I’ll hopefully be the last one to speak.” So apparently that hasn’t been decided yet.
On who his replacement should be: “You’ve got to know what you’re talking about. You’ve really got to have experience so you can offer constructive criticism as well… Someone who’s had managerial experience is helpful. It’s like judging ice skating at the Olympics. Over the years judges are replaced by personalities, but you need someone who actually knows what they’re talking about…You’re never going to pick someone as good as you, are they? You see people put in a role to play a role [like the mean judge]. It grows quite tiresome. This person specifically has got to have a lot of experience in the music business.”
Simon spent so much time saying that judges absolutely need to have music experience, that it left me (and others) wondering whether he was referring to Ellen. So when a reporter asked just that, Simon jumped at the chance to clear up his comments since he realized they could be “misconstrued.” “I was speaking specifically toward my replacement. Let me tell you why Ellen was a good choice. She actually is responsible for people on her own show. She loves music and has been an artist.” Simon believes his replacement needs to be someone with music experience because he has music experience.
On the names that have been bounced around:
Howard Stern: I’m fairly certain there hasn’t been an approach [by the show].
Perez Hilton: He’s funny, he’s got good taste in music. That would work.
Noel Gallagher (of Oasis): “It’s a possibility.”
“There’s no shortage of candidates.” When asked who he would really like to see, he answered, “If I really knew the answer to that question, I wouldn’t tell you.”
His final word to reporters: “I hope we cleared up some of the rumors. We’ll do it again soon.”
I hope so, because I admit that I am as “besotted” with him as ever. And I am more convinced than ever that the show cannot thrive without him…
Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX