Simon: The pretty factor

This is something I don't usually do -- taking a story that I send to papers and also putting it on my blog. Still, I make an exception for "American Idol" (a bloggy subject) and especially for this story, in which Simon Cowell has some interesting thoughts about his eventual replacement. Here we go:

As suggestions for his replacement were
tossed around, Simon Cowell asked the question most of us avoid: “Is
he handsome?”

He was joking, possibly, after being
asked about a record executive he didn't know. Still, there was some
truth to it when he added, “You've got to be good-looking.”

Like him or not, people have to admit
Cowell – in his final year as an “American Idol” judge – is a
handsome chap. He might be cruel, arrogant, occasionally wrong …
but the words emerge from a good-looking Englishman with the smooth
charm of someone who grew up comfortably.

Some others – Piers Morgan of
“America's Got Talent,” Robert Herjavec of “Shark Tank” –
could get away with that. Most of us couldn't … including, perhaps,
radio star Howard Stern.

There have been claims that Fox is
already talking to Stern, but Cowell doubts that. “I'm fairly
certain that he hasn't been approached,” he told reporters Thursday

The key, Cowell said, is that the new
judge knows music. And Stern? “Maybe that's a good quality, that
he's played records,” he said, without sounding sincere.

Judges have included a record producer
(Randy Jackson), a record executive (Cowell), a singer (Paula Abdul)
and a songwriter-producer (Kara DioGuardi). Some people might doubt
that new judge Ellen Degeneres is an expert, but Cowell said she's
been key in booking the music for her own show.

One report had Cowell showing up an
hour late, while Degeneres fumed and asked that the taping start.
That's exaggerated, he insisted. “I turned up 15 or 20 minutes late
… and they did start filming.”

Then again, rumors used to have him
feuding with Abdul, who's not back this season. “Paula's my
friend,” Cowell said. “She's someone I got close to …. She
always makes me laugh.”

Cowell doubts that a name star like
Madonna would have time for the job. He seemed to enjoy the notion of
blog star Perez Hilton; “Perez would be fun.”

There are endless possibilities, but
expect Cowell to view them skeptically: “You're never going to pick
anyone as good as you.”