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Simon Cowell Wants Britney Spears to Guest on "American Idol"

December 18, 2008 9:05 AM ET

American Idol judge Simon Cowell says he wants Britney Spears to appear on the show this season. "She would, literally, be first on the list as far as I'm concerned," Cowell said. "I would love to see her mentor the contestants, but if she doesn't want to do that, and she wants to come on the show and perform, I would welcome her anytime." Part of Cowell's Spears infatuation stems from the singer's appearance on his the U.K.'s own Idol, X Factor: "The buzz we had on our show when she came on was extraordinary. And even with all the stuff that's gone on with her the past two years, there was more excitement and interest in her than I've seen in anyone in years." Other stars Cowell would like to book as mentors include Beyoncé, Lionel Richie, Quentin Tarantino (who memorably served as a guest judge) and Paul McCartney, who the show has tried to recruit every season since its debut.

But should AI be less concerned about their mentors and more concerned about their Idols' success post-show? 2007 winner Jordin Sparks has parted ways with AI-owned 19 Management, Sparks' mother said in a MySpace post. Sparks' debut album had the worst first-week sales of any AI winner. Still, her exile demonstrates 19 Entertainment's impatience for developing new winners into viable chart stars once the former contestants experience weak sales. For a guide to the show's biggest winners and losers, check out our guide to the American Idol Rollercoaster here.

Related Stories:
American Idol Announces 2009 Schedule, Brings Back Wild Card Round
Former American Idol Producer Responds To Abdul's Stalker Claims
Paula Abdul Criticizes American Idol Producers For Allowing Stalker To Audition

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Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

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