Simon Cowell has one requirement for his replacement on American Idol: "My role on the show is somebody who has run a successful record label," he told reporters during a conference call last night. "This person, specifically, has got to have a lot of experience in the music industry."
Cowell says managers, artists and A&R representatives are solid candidates — with a caveat. When Rolling Stone mentioned producer Steve Lillywhite's campaign for the job (his credentials? "I have spent 30 years telling Bono what to do") Cowell asked us to assess the producer's looks. "You've got to be good looking," he explained with a laugh. As for the other big names who've publicly thrown their hats in for the gig, Cowell says he's "fairly certain" no one on Idol's end has approached Howard Stern and that the shock jock's resume is dubious. "He plays records," Cowell says. "But he doesn't seem to have any of these qualifications." On the other hand, he tells RS Perez Hilton "would be funny. He's got good taste in music and he's a personality. It could work."
Cowell dispelled rumors of a feud between himself and new judge Ellen DeGeneres, saying he doesn't know the comic that well yet but can vouch for why she's a good judge: "She's very responsible for people she has performing on her own show, she loves music and she's been an artist." And he addressed the elimination of Top 24 contestant Chris Golightly, saying he was unaware of the reason for the singer's early disqualification.
Cowell says he has a wish list for the next few months. He'd like to see Lady Gaga, who he calls "the most relevant pop star in the world at the moment," as a guest judge, admits he'd love to find his own Taylor Swift to win the competition (a veiled nod to self-proclaimed country starlet Haeley Vaughn?) and, of course, keep his spot as the final voice when the judges offer their criticism. "I want to go out on a high; It's my last season, I want it to be successful and I'm going to do everything I can to make it happen."
• Meet the American Idol Top 24 â€" Minus Ineligible Chris Golightly
• American Idol Judge DioGuardi Rates Ellen DeGeneres' Debut
• Ellen DeGeneres Joins American Idol as Hollywood Week Begins
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