Simon Cowell leaving American Idol

Simon Cowell
Yes it is true. Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol.

Cowell told reporters at the TV Critics Association winter press tour that “There’s been a lot of speculation [about my future], partly because we didn’t have an agreement. We reached an agreement formally about half past 11 this morning. Where we have come to is that The X Factor will launch in America in 2011, with me judging the show and executive producing the show, and because of that, this will be my last season on American Idol this year.”

First things first, The X Factor isn’t much different than American Idol except that contestants of all can enter and the judges mentor as well as just critique.

The X Factor will air in the fall, while Idol will continue airing in the spring. So what will happen with this season of American Idol and Cowell?

“I’ve always said this was my last year,” Simon told us. “Everyone thought I was negotiating, but that wasn’t the reason behind it. I felt like doing something different. I like the challenge. I want to leave Idol this year, bigger and better than it’s been before…I hope it’s going to be higher than it was last year.”

Simon Cowell biography

Simon Cowell started out in the postroom at EMI Music Publishing, but after launching his own label at the age of 23, he joined BMG in 1989 and began a professional relationship so far spanning more than 20 years.

Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell started out in the postroom at EMI Music Publishing, but after launching his own label at the age of 23, he joined BMG in 1989 and began a professional relationship so far spanning more than 20 years.

During his time at BMG, Simon has sold over 150 million records and has had over 70 No. 1 records in America and the UK. His artists include Westlife – whose first seven singles all went to UK No. 1, opera quartet Il Divo, whose first two albums have collectively sold 20 million copies worldwide and Leona Lewis whose album ‘Spirit’ became biggest selling debut album of all time in 2007. His music label SyCo Music has also sold over 50 million American Idol themed albums including those of Grammy Award winner Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken and Carrie Underwood.

Simon Cowell’s trademark candor and eye for talent on “American Idol” has made him a household name both in the United States and in the UK on “The X Factor” and “Britain’s Got Talent”.

Cowell was recently ranked 3rd on the Forbes “TV Faces” list and 21st on the 2007 Forbes “Celebrity 100 Power List.” In 2006, Cowell was named “UK Personality of the Year” by Variety, and in 2004 was named one of the Top Entertainers of the Year by Entertainment Weekly.

American Idol adds a fourth judge

american idol

Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi has joined AMERICAN IDOL as a fourth judge. She will sit alongside Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson at the judges’ table and use her background as an award-winning songwriter and producer to praise or critique the wannabe hopefuls throughout the competition. The eighth season of AMERICAN IDOL premieres January, 2009, on FOX.

“We are turning the heat up on ‘Idol’ this year and are thrilled to welcome Kara to the judges’ table,” said creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. “She is a smart, sassy lady, and one of America’s most successful songwriters. We know she will bring a new level of energy and excitement to the show.”

“We had originally intended for AMERICAN IDOL to have four judges,” said executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. “We’ve seen from our international series that having a fourth judge creates a dynamic that benefits both the contestants and the viewers.”

Mike Darnell, President, Alternative Programming of FOX, added “For the past seven seasons, Paula has had to endure the experience of being the only woman at the judges’ table. She’s been as an island of consideration and gentle criticism between Randy and Simon, offering her invaluable expertise as a performer and No. 1 artist to the thousands who have competed on AMERICAN IDOL. With Kara by her side, Paula finally has some back-up and now there is going to be a lot more ‘girl power’ on the show.”

One of the industry’s most sought after songwriters and producers, DioGuardi’s songs have appeared on more than 100 million records. Her songs have been recorded by Grammy award-winning artists including Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Santana, and Pink. Scores of major recording artists including Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Pussycat Dolls, Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Natasha Bedingfield, Jewel, Ashley Tisdale, Katharine McPhee, Taylor Hicks, Bo Bice, Clay Aiken, Ashlee Simpson, Hilary Duff, Jessica Simpson, Kylie Minogue, Enrique Iglesias, Nick Lachey and Marc Anthony have also released DioGuardi’s songs.

Over the last four years, she has been awarded 10 BMI Pop Awards for having written the most performed songs on radio. From her catalog of several hundred songs, over 264 have been released on major labels worldwide; and over 165 have appeared on multi-platinum selling albums. DioGuardi co-owns Arthouse Entertainment, where she develops and mentors fellow hit writers, producers and artists.

American Idol wrap-up

american idol

David Cook was boring with his cover of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like a Wolf.” Cook’s second go with The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” was far better.

Syesha was surprisingly solid. Who would have guessed a few weeks ago that she would have been so good? Syesha did an above average version of “Proud Mary” although her attempt at rocking out like Tina wasn’t nearly as good as her vocals. Syesha was even better with her version of “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

Jason Castro is a train wreck. Jason killed Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff.” He doesn’t deserve to be on the show. How in the hell did he knock off Brooke White? This probably wouldn’t have made it into the top twelve if Simon and company had another go at it. Not only did Jason forget the lyrics to “Mr. Tambourine Man,” but he completely ruined it.

David Archuleta was brilliant with his version of “Stand by Me.” He still hasn’t come close to being as good as he was covering “Imagine,” but this came close. Simon was right when he said it was the “best performance so far.” David’s version of Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” was a home run.

Simon told Jason to “pack your suitcase.” That was the best advice of the night. So that begs the question: who will be in the final two? Will it be David Cook and David Archuleta? Or, David Archuleta and Syesha? As you can tell we think Archuleta wins this thing with ease–but what do you think?