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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Mar 1st, 2004

CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With Host, Judges of 'American Idol'; The Latest Developments in Kobe Bryant Trial

Aired March 1, 2004 - 21:00  ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "AMERICAN IDOL")

SIMON COWELL, "AMERICAN IDOL" JUDGE: He can't sing, he can't dance. So what do you want me to say?

WILLIAM HUNG, "AMERICA IDOL" CONTESTANT: I have no professional training of singing and dancing.

COWELL: No!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, "American Idol" is back for its third smash
season, and the real stars of the show are here, the judges, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, plus host Ryan Seacrest -- they're all here.

Ryan Seacrest returns for the 400th time to LARRY KING LIVE.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we just leave him in a seat? We go to him. And he's joined by the panel, Simon Cowell, the "American Idol" judge, BMG Records executive and author of "I Don't Mean To Be Rude, but: Backstage Gossip From"...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: ... Paula Abdul the "American Idol" judge, the Grammy and Emmy Award-winning entertainer; and Randy Jackson, "American Idol" judge, Grammy Award-winning music producer and author of "What's Up, Dawg?: How to Become a Superstar in the Music Business."

Tomorrow night, the fourth group of eight semifinalists performs. Wednesday, the fourth group of semifinalists. The top 12 finalists have been selected so far.

Why is this show -- Simon, we'll start with you -- a hit?

COWELL: A lot of people say it's just me, but...

(LAUGHTER)

RANDY JACKSON, "AMERICAN IDOL" JUDGE": Oh, yes! Right! Of course!

(CROSSTALK)

COWELL: It's a team effort, Larry...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: No, I mean, what part of it is the judges and what -- what -- I mean, "The Gong Show" had a theme.

COWELL: Yes. It's reality, isn't it?

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) reality.

COWELL: Yes, I think so. Yes. They can't cheat on this show. It's looking through the keyhole. And it's the good and the bad.

KING: Paula?

PAULA ABDUL, "AMERICAN IDOL" JUDGE: That, and the fact that the chemistry is just there. I think that with America voting, you know, they have a vested interest in picking the pop star.

KING: Randy?

JACKSON: Well, I think, you know, both of them are right. And I think also, the public gets that emotional investment, you know what I'm saying? It's like the "Rocky" story. You want your pick to go all the way, kind of a deal, you know what I mean?

KING: So you're involved?

JACKSON: Yes.

KING: The audience is involved.

JACKSON: Yes.

KING: Ryan, you became the full-time host second year, right?

RYAN SEACREST, "AMERICAN IDOL" HOST: Yes. Second year.

KING: What do you think?

SEACREST: Well, I think all of what our judges have said, plus the fact that you get to see the great performers, as well as those that aren't so great. We just saw that clip, when you came into the show, with William Hung. And I think audiences love to see the really talented folks, and they also like to see those less talented that struggle with this.

KING: Why do you think, Simon -- well, let's take a look. We'll take (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a loser here and get your thoughts as to why they even go on, people who get famous for being bad. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "AMERICAN IDOL")

HUNG: (SINGING) She bangs, she bangs, oh, baby, when she moves, she moves, I go crazy because she looks like a flower but she stings like a bee, like every girl in history. She bang, she bangs...

COWELL: Thank you. Thank you! You can't sing, you can't dance. So what do you want me to say?

HUNG: I already gave my best, and I have no regrets at all.

ABDUL: Good for you.

JACKSON: That's good. Now, that's good.

ABDUL: That's the best attitude yet.

HUNG: You know, I have no professional training of singing.

COWELL: No! Well, there's the surprise of the century!

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Why did that kid go on?

COWELL: They're nuts.

(LAUGHTER)

JACKSON: Plain and simple.

COWELL: Everyone wants to be famous and...

KING: Yes, but for being ridiculed?

COWELL: I don't -- well, none of these people -- you know, like, what's his name, William, they don't realize how bad they are. I mean, seriously, Every single person -- because we normally ask the question before we start the audition, Do you actually believe you could be the next "American Idol," i.e. the best undiscovered talent in America? Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

COWELL: They believe it.

KING: You think, Paula, a friend tells them, You're good? ABDUL: I think not just friends do, but the families do. And they come, and we're just amazed at -- you know, the thing for me is, I see someone like William Hung coming in, and he's licking his chops. Simon's licking his chops. It's like shark bait. And I'm just hoping and praying that -- Oh, no, you know? But it's the truth.

COWELL: That's not quite true.

JACKSON: Oh, come on! Come on!

COWELL: There is a sweet exterior...

KING: Now, wait a minute, Simon. Do you want them to be bad?

(LAUGHTER)

COWELL: Well, sometimes, yes. But I like it to be like a real, live audition. I mean, if you see a show like "Star Search," it's sanitized to only show what they think is the best. I know, because I've been doing this for years, that if you have an audition, an open audition which isn't televised, 95 percent of the people who turn up are useless.

JACKSON: Terrible.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: ... say the same as an executive?

JACKSON: Terrible. Terrible. Come on. You see it all the time.

KING: What percentage of your people are terrible?

JACKSON: Probably 95 percent of them, too. It's the same thing.

COWELL: I think it's gone up to 97 percent.

JACKSON: Yes, it's probably 99 now.

KING: How about a -- there isn't a high percentage of people who are just good?

ABDUL: I think there are. I think there are -- there's a huge percentage of real good. But there's not a -- there's a small, small...

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: I would say OK. They were just OK.

SEACREST: Randy, you guys have always said no matter...

(CROSSTALK)

SEACREST: Simon had 30 seconds of silence. JACKSON: Yes, yes, yes. Oh, my God!

SEACREST: But you guys have always said it doesn't matter how many you actually see, you're only going to find a few that are superstars, right, Randy?

JACKSON: Well, that's what you see every time. I mean, you know, in this top 12, there'll be three or four people that are great, then there'll be people that are OK. I mean, last season, it was the same thing, you know what I mean? I think any audition you have, that's usually what happens, you know?

KING: Have you seen people who are great who didn't get votes?

COWELL: No.

KING: No. In other words, if they were great, that greatness came through and recorded and such that they received applause and votes?

COWELL: Yes. Normally, the American audience get it right. But you know, we were saying after the show we recorded on the weekend, which goes out tomorrow, that, in a way, I'm glad that there are so many bad people on the show because it actually shows the audience how difficult it is to be a star. I mean, if everyone was great, it would be the most boring show on earth.

KING: Why do you sort of defend, everyone, Paula?

(LAUGHTER)

JACKSON: Look how he looks at her! Come on!

KING: Well, why -- do you...

JACKSON: Come on!

SEACREST: This is what goes on though.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Are you always looking for the good?

ABDUL: Well, being an artist and knowing what it's like for them to be out there and, you know, rising above adversity week in and week out, you know, they connect with me and they know that I know what it feels like. And I think you have to balance, you know, the good with the bad. You give constructive criticism. You have to give some positivity. I mean, we did put them in the final 32, so we did like them.

JACKSON: That is true. That is true.

KING: That's right. Somebody put them there.

SEACREST: Which is the point we made the week that you guys weren't satisfied with that entire group, you know? Simon said he was disinterested, didn't care any more at that point that week. And I said, Well you're the one that put them through. You're the one that put them into that next round.

JACKSON: But in defense...

(CROSSTALK)

COWELL: ... taken their places.

JACKSON: Yes, but in defense, though, the top 32 -- guess what? It's about being great every night, right? So a lot of these kids crumble under the pressure. I mean, we put them there because they were probably good to get into the 32, say, OK, hey, this is the greatest group of 32. Yes, let's go. Whoa. Here we are. Then they get there and they fall apart.

KING: When you were asked to be on the show, did you like the idea right away?

COWELL: Well, I came up with the idea, partly, for the show.

SEACREST: You created the show.

COWELL: Yes.

JACKSON: Yes, you're the creator.

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: Aren't you the creator?

KING: Oh, I see. Paula, did you like the idea right away of going on?

ABDUL: I still love the fact when it's the first five seconds of credits, because his name's not on there, he turns his chair away!

(LAUGHTER)

KING: You're a weird guy.

(LAUGHTER)

JACKSON: He is a weird guy. That was true, Larry. He is a weird guy.

COWELL: I'm not wearing pink braces on TV!

(LAUGHTER)

JACKSON: Come on! Come on, now.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: When you get to be 70, what are they going to do to you? JACKSON: Don't crack on Larry. Larry's cool, man!

ABDUL: I want to say I did love the idea of the show because it's fascinating to me. I love finding raw, untapped talent (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

KING: Randy, you?

JACKSON: No, I think it's -- I think it's great because it's, like, the only true reality show. Simon said earlier. It's real reality.

KING: So you liked it right away (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

JACKSON: Oh, yes, it's a good idea.

KING: We'll take a break and come back. We're going to include your phone calls for Ryan Seacrest, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson of "American Idol."

Tomorrow night, Super Tuesday, ten -- well, nine primaries and one where they just sort of caucus. But we'll be there for all of it with two live shows tomorrow at 9:00 Eastern and midnight Eastern. And our co-hosts are Bob Dole and Bob Woodward. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "AMERICAN IDOL")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SINGING) It's the light of day that shows me how and when the nights falls my lonely heart calls.

ABDUL: I say yes, and we all say yes.

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: Welcome to Hollywood! Yes!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SINGING) Because they always start to cry...

COWELL: You're through.

JACKSON: Welcome to Hollywood, baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SINGING) Just once can we figure out what we keep doing wrong...

COWELL: We are going see you in Hollywood.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "AMERICAN IDOL")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) believin' I can have it all now. I'm dancin' for my life. Take your passion, make it happen, pictures come alive, now you dance right through your life...

I didn't make it!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're out of their minds! They are out of their minds!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, hell! Now [DELETED] them, Kristin! (ph)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You better believe that some day, I'm going to make somebody a lot of money, including myself. Biggest mistake ever!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You like that, Paula? Confidence?

ABDUL: She had passion. Not good, though.

KING: They have to sing a cappella?

SEACREST: They do when they walk into the audition room. You know, watching that clip back, it reminds me of all the time that people walk into the room to see these three on the road, and they come out and they say, I don't need your show anyway. It's going to fail without me.

(LAUGHTER)

ABDUL: That's right.

SEACREST: You know? I think that young lady was one of those instances. But...

JACKSON: Oh, she definitely failed.

SEACREST: ... something happens in that room, and sometimes they turn and they walk out and they say...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Some people get real angry at you, Simon? Anyone ever staunch (ph) back when you rack 'em?

COWELL: Yes. We have a lot of security guards in there now.

KING: Really? Or...

COWELL: Yes, as a deterrent. And they're visible, as if to say, You'll get beaten up if you beat me up.

KING: Has anyone come at you?

SEACREST: What was the story with the water?

(CROSSTALK)

COWELL: I got water thrown in my face this year, but that was nothing. In the first season, some guys were waiting for me in New York with baseball bats.

JACKSON: Downstairs.

KING: Really?

JACKSON: Yes. Yes.

KING: Let's -- you want to know why this happens? Well, here's an example of the bad cop routine of Simon. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "AMERICAN IDOL")

COWELL: It's the No. 1 show in America, biggest talent show ever, and I would give that performance 3 out of 10. I'm being serious. Sorry. Houston, we have a problem.

JACKSON: A serious problem, dude.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anything I can improve on or anything or...

COWELL: Yes. Don't sing again. I think it's lucky we didn't charge the audience to come in tonight because they'd ask for a refund.

You are a terrible, terrible singer.

What the hell are you supposed to say constructively after a performance like that? Whoopie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Is that hard do?

COWELL: No.

ABDUL: Oh, God!

KING: Really?

COWELL: I'm English.

(LAUGHTER)

JACKSON: Oh, what does that mean?

COWELL: We do it naturally.

JACKSON: Oh, yes. Yes.

KING: Not hard to do, really?

COWELL: No, honestly not because I think it would be unkind, a lot of the time, to give people, like, false hope.

KING: What do you think of that statement? JACKSON: Oh, I think sometimes he's right. I think if you're really terrible, you really should know it. But I mean, you know, you don't have to, like, squash them every time. You know, like, Oh! You know, you don't have to be like that. But that's that British thing.

KING: Paula, what do you think?

ABDUL: Well, he knows what I think.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

ABDUL: I just think that he's -- he goes over the top oftentimes. I mean, you know, there are times where I find myself with my arms and my shoulders shaking because I'm laughing, I'm trying to hold in. I mean, he's funny. But sometimes, he goes over the top. And Randy, you -- you...

JACKSON: Oh!

(CROSSTALK)

ABDUL: He just doesn't -- you don't need to do it. And he goes one step too far. He told a girl...

KING: Isn't that part of...

ABDUL: ... she's ugly when she sings.

KING: Isn't that part of the...

ABDUL: I think that's really rude.

KING: Isn't that part of the hit of the show, though?

ABDUL: Yes. I suppose so.

KING: Ryan, what do you think?

SEACREST: Did you see him roll his eyes? Because Larry said "part of the hit."

JACKSON: Ryan, is that part of the hit of the show?

(CROSSTALK)

SEACREST: You know what? My biggest beef is it's your job to give your opinion and be candid, be honest, but you rarely give them direction. You rarely give them...

ABDUL: I agree.

JACKSON: Agreed. Very good, Ryan.

(CROSSTALK) SEACREST: Thank you, Randy.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: You don't say, Here's what you should do.

(CROSSTALK)

SEACREST: ... here's what was bad, but here's what you should do to get better. And I feel like if you're going go out and crush them...

ABDUL: And kill them.

JACKSON: Right.

SEACREST: ... then give them something that they can take away.

JACKSON: That's right!

ABDUL: Yes.

JACKSON: Now, Ryan...

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: Paula and I do a lot of that.

SEACREST: Yes, but if you know, then share it with them.

COWELL: Are you saying I should do that because it's the right thing or it would make better TV?

SEACREST: I think it would be both the right thing and make better TV.

ABDUL: I think that...

(CROSSTALK)

COWELL: Well, you have a radio show. How many of the losers...

(CROSSTALK)

SEACREST: Your other two friends seem to agree with me.

JACKSON: Oh, my God!

COWELL: No, but I'm serious. How many of the losers would you put on your radio show?

SEACREST: I just think that when these kids go in...

COWELL: None.

SEACREST: I think when these kids go in... ABDUL: They need to know why.

SEACREST: ... you can give them a little something...

ABDUL: Because they need to know why...

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: That's right.

COWELL: No, talk is cheap. If you have a TV show and radio show, if you really, genuinely believe that, you'd give them air time. But you don't give the people who lose air time, you just give the winners air time...

SEACREST: That's not true.

JACKSON: Is that true, Ryan?

(CROSSTALK)

SEACREST: That's not true.

COWELL: Yes, it's true.

SEACREST: No, when they get voted off the top 12, they come by and do the radio show.

COWELL: So -- so...

SEACREST: Do you see? This stuff never ends.

(CROSSTALK)

COWELL: So out of the 24 people who don't make the final, you'll put them on your show.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Let me...

JACKSON: Larry, so how you doing, man?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: They pay me anyway.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Let's include...

JACKSON: Larry, what's happening, dude?

KING: Let's include a phone call. Las Vegas. Hello. Don't sing. What's your question? CALLER: OK, good evening. Being that you have pre-screeners before you get to your show, how do you let someone like -- excuse me for being rude -- Hung or such the person, even get through, when there is another show on TV, which I'm just going to say "Star Search," where they have pure talent? It's not about the game of who could knock who. There's people that should never even get up and open their mouth in front of you. I feel sorry for them.

KING: Fair question.

CALLER: They are people with raw talent.

(CROSSTALK)

COWELL: I think it's fire the screeners. Fire the screeners.

ABDUL: Fire the screeners.

KING: No, you know that they're put on for effect.

COWELL: Yes, as you know, what we try and do, Larry, is we have 70,000 people. And we say if a third are bad out of, you know, the bunch as a whole, then give us a representative bunch.

JACKSON: A cross-section.

KING: So you do want bad people?

COWELL: We do it representatively.

KING: You do?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: A bad guy gets on over one who was better because that week, you want a bad guy?

JACKSON: Well, here's what happens...

SEACREST: No. Not on a week-by-week basis. I mean, some of the bad people who you see, some people genuinely believe they're good.

KING: I see.

JACKSON: And...

KING: Because there were people better than Hung.

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: You know what else...

SEACREST: You just (UNINTELLIGIBLE) William Hung.

JACKSON: You know what else that happens, Larry, is that I was talking to someone the other day that was in the pre-screening process. They said, God, I can't believe this kid has gotten that far because we cut him. So we want to see -- someone that they may think it's horrible, we may go, like, Well, you know what? He's actually not bad if they change this and that or whatever, you know what I'm saying?

ABDUL: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) want to see potential. But I do feel that, you know, there's a lot of great talent out there, and sometimes they fall through the cracks and we don't get to see them.

KING: What about her point about "Star Search"? They're all pretty good.

COWELL: I disagree. I mean, we were talking in the break that, you know, name one person who's won "Star Search," a singer, who's gone on to become a successful recording artist.

KING: And yours already have, right?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Your runner-up...

(CROSSTALK)

COWELL: Yes, three of them now. Yes.

KING: All right. We'll take a break and come back with some more moments, more phone calls for our group, and then we'll discuss the Kobe Bryant case.don't go away

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "AMERICAN IDOL")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SINGING) Big wheel keep on turnin', Proud Mary keep on burnin'...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SINGING) Well, since my baby left me, I found a new place to dwell...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Made it! Yes!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SINGING) Rescue me, take me in your arms, rescue me, I want your tender charms 'cause I'm lonely and I'm blue...

COWELL: Amy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes?

COWELL: You're through to the next round.

JACKSON: You're going to Hollywood, Amy! Come on!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "AMERICAN IDOL") UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SINGING) Well, get your kicks on Route 66. Yes!

JACKSON: Oh, God!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SINGING) Crazy, crazy for feelin' so lonely...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SINGING) She's a lady, whoa, whoa, whoa, she's a lady...

UNIDENTIFIED: Is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) like anything...

COWELL: What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything good?

COWELL: Nothing good.

(CROSSTALK)

COWELL: There's not a song in the world you could sing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really! Well (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JACKSON: Oh, classic moment.

KING: Do you look forward to the tryouts?

COWELL: Oh, that's a good question. Watching them back, yes, but doing them, no.

KING: Brooklyn, New York. Hello. And by the way, good news. They're going to stay with us one extra segment, so we'll have them for a few more moments because we know how lively and wonderful they are.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: So we decided to hold them over one segment.

Brooklyn, New York. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. Hi. My question is for Simon. I know he's very critical about the people who audition, but he was just on Oprah recently and she had a talent show, and he complimented the woman who won. I thought she was fabulous. Is there an age limit on "American Idol" that she couldn't audition for you? And do you think she'll go far? Because I thought she was absolutely terrific.

COWELL: We've set an age limit at the moment.

KING: Oh, boy.

COWELL: I think it's 26 on our show.

SEACREST: It's 24, 16 to 24.

KING: Who was the woman on Oprah?

COWELL: She -- well, Oprah did, like, a talent show for older people. And she was about 38, 39. And she was good. She was very, very good.

KING: But she has no hope, 38, 39, can't get a recording contract?

COWELL: She wouldn't have done. It's like Paula. I mean, once you reach a certain age...

JACKSON: Oh, come on! Come on!

COWELL: I'm not saying Paula couldn't do it...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Are you saying that no person middle age can make a hit?

JACKSON: No, but...

ABDUL: You know what's bad, is that kids who come out there and say, I'm 24. I made the mark. I know I'm old. It's, like, 24, you're old? Please.

JACKSON: If you're great, and if she's that great, you know, she'll get a deal. But I mean, she needed someone to help her because companies generally don't want to sign older people.

KING: You need the right producer...

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: Yes, you need everything at that age, you know, because companies want to invest...

KING: Do you feel sorry for them, Host?

SEACREST: Sometimes I do. You know, I mean, I have to deal with them when they get done...

KING: You're the one that has to...

SEACREST: ... with the critique and feedback.

KING: ... comfort them, right?

(CROSSTALK)

SEACREST: And it's tough. I mean, my job is not to judge. That's what they do. My job is to try and make them feel better and try and get them to turn up the next day, one more day with these three.

KING: Cop-out.

COWELL: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

SEACREST: Smile and read the results.

KING: That's why we're hosts.

(LAUGHTER)

SEACREST: Hey, good for me. I'm young. Simon's done it all, you know what I mean, at his age, so...

KING: Columbia City...

(CROSSTALK)

SEACREST: ... time to make it.

KING: Columbia City, Indiana. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. Since I'm one of Paula's biggest fans, this is for her. But if you want to answer anyway...

KING: Go ahead. How old are you?

CALLER: I'm 12.

KING: OK. Go ahead.

CALLER: What has been the funnest thing for you this season?

KING: Paula?

ABDUL: Oh, you know, it's thrilling being able to sit where I sit because I get a chance to see amazing talent. And I really do enjoy what I do. I love my job. Contrary to having -- well, just stop looking at me! It is really difficult having to sit next to this -- but I really love what I do. And it's thrilling. It's really thrilling for me to be able to see the growth of these contestants and see them win and go on to achieve great success.

KING: Are you surprised at the success of last year's winners?

COWELL: No.

KING: No?

COWELL: No. They were good. They were good.

KING: Ryan?

SEACREST: No, not really. I mean, you know, I've had a chance to interview them both since they've left "American Idol," and they're really talented on a consistent basis. I think that's the key. They're not just good once in a while, they're good every time you see them and...

(CROSSTALK)

ABDUL: The coolest thing, though -- you and I were at the -- was it the American Music Awards? And we were sitting near each other, and Ruben and Clay...

SEACREST: Yes, it was the AMAs.

ABDUL: ... were performing. And we looked at each other, went, Oh, my God.

JACKSON: Well, it's funny...

ABDUL: They're up there out of the element of "American Idol," and they're living their dream.

SEACREST: Well, and the place went nuts for them.

JACKSON: I just put together this tour for Kelly and Clay, right, the band. And hearing them both sing, I was just so proud that they were really talented. It's, like, Oh, my God. You know, we've been doing something right, dude.

KING: San Jose, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, everyone.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Ryan, I love you.

JACKSON: Oh! Oh!

SEACREST: Thank you.

CALLER: Sorry. I was wondering, with the fact that everyone in group one was so strong and everyone in group three was so strong, who determines how the groups are divided up? And why were those people in group two not so great?

SEACREST: That's a good question. Who is it that actually decides that?

COWELL: Well, I mean, obviously, not a music expert.

JACKSON: Oh!

COWELL: But the point is, is that some of the people who were put into group two, the producers must have thought, due to their early auditions, that they were good. And I think as Randy said, they mess up on the night through nerves and stuff.

KING: Do you often disagree with the producers?

COWELL: Yes.

JACKSON: Yes. All the time.

KING: Do you verbalize this to them?

JACKSON: Yes.

COWELL: Yes.

KING: Are they the final word, if you're the co-creator?

JACKSON: Simon?

COWELL: Sometimes.

KING: You mean you win some, lose some?

COWELL: Well, I mean, it's their show to make. I mean, they -- they -- most of what they do is fine, but we don't always agree.

KING: Well, you can't knock the ratings, right?

JACKSON: No. I mean, you're still winning, you know? It's great.

ABDUL: It's a formula that works.

KING: All right, they're going to spend some more moments with them. We'll be back with those moments, a few more phone calls, and then our panel on Kobe Bryant. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "AMERICAN IDOL")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SINGING) But one last cry, one last cry before I leave it all behind...

COWELL: You know, of all the people who've got potential, you are probably the best out of the group tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SINGING) You are my heat, you are my fire, you make me weak with strong desire...

ABDUL: You know, you did yourself proud. You made us pay attention. You sang every note on key. Good for you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SINGING) Some kind of wonderful, some kind of wonderful, come on, y'all...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: That looked like opening night Vegas. She's good. 

COWELL: She's really good. You didn't like her very much but me and Ran -- I think you and I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) didn't we?

JACKSON: You know Paula loved her. Come on. 

KING: Is she going on? 

COWELL: She's in the final 12. She's one of the front runners. 

SEACREST: One of the reasons you guys liked her, what, the unique voice? She didn't really sound like anybody else we've had so far?

(CROSSTALK)

COWELL: I don't want to be rude but isn't Larry supposed to ask the question?

(CROSSTALK)

SEACREST: He's been waiting to do that, by the way.

KING: Bradenton, Florida. 

CALLER: Hi, I have a question for Paula. I just want to say I'm a big fan. I heard you're recording a new album. I was curious when is it going to come out? 

ABDUL: There's no break between "American Idol" ever. Randy and I have been trying to get in the studio. We're going to be there. We're getting in there.

JACKSON: It's going to happen. 

ABDUL: Have I not written some good songs. 

KING: Tampa, hello.

CALLER: My question for the judges specifically Simon is last year the movie from Justin and Kelly kind of maybe kind of got somebody a case of too much too soon. Do you think that oversaturation of a good thing might happen to "American Idol" like, say, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" in case in point? 

COWELL: I think you're right. I think, you know, we always said it's a show that should be on once a year. And that's exactly what happened, I think, happened with "Millionaire." They overexposed it. 

KING: Are you in danger here? How many nights a week you are on? 

SEACREST: Two nights regularly. 

COWELL: Yes, two...

KING: Then you have specials. 

COWELL: It's a results show normally. It's enough. It lasts for -- how many weeks? 

COWELL: 30 weeks?

ABDUL: 30 to 35 weeks. 

KING: Minneapolis, hello. 

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Simon, I think you're great. We lived in the U.K. for a while and we were big fans of "Pop Idol." We're wondering if that's still a big hit over there and we are wondering if you're associated with it at all.

SEACREST: He's a little embarrassed right now.

JACKSON: Yes, he's embarrassed.

SEACREST: Bear with us. 

KING: Why? 

COWELL: I'm pleased to say the second series was bigger than the first. 

KING: Why are you all looking at him? 

COWELL: Thank you very much. 

ABDUL: Humility is not a pretty color on Simon.

JACKSON: Humility just doesn't work on Simon.

KING: Was "Pop Idol" a hit? 

JACKSON: Well, for people in the U.K. Not to us here.

COWELL: The show started in England and then we took to it America. We just did the second series in England and it was a hit. 

KING: Didn't work here? 

COWELL: No, no, we went to England first then we took it to America with "American Idol."

KING: I see. I see. "American Idol" is "Pop Idol." 

JACKSON: American singers are better though. American singers are better.

COWELL: Thank you very much. 

KING: OK. North Tonawanda, New York, hello. 

CALLER: Hello. I wanted to speak with Paula. 

KING: Go ahead. 

CALLER: I wanted to ask her if she would ever release all of her music videos on DVD. 

ABDUL: Wow. I never thought of that. 

KING: Why not? 

ABDUL: I just never have. Maybe I will. 

KING: Couple other bases. Would you take rappers? 

COWELL: No. 

KING: Why not? 

COWELL: I don't think most of America would enjoy watching them or listening to them. 

JACKSON: What? 

SEACREST: People are enjoying the context of this competition. 

COWELL: It wouldn't work. 

JACKSON: Not in this competition. Not in this competition.

COWELL: That's what I'm saying. In this competition. 

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Would you have a rap contest? "Rap Idol?" 

COWELL: No. Wouldn't work. 

JACKSON: When you look at the music charts, Larry...

ABDUL: If it was separate as rap, yes. 

JACKSON: The top ten today Billboard or "Hits" magazine, hip hop is probably 65 percent of the top ten. He's crazy. He's from England. 

COWELL: Honestly, I don't think it would work... 

SEACREST: It is working now though. 

COWELL: Because the songs aren't good enough. 

JACKSON: It's 65 percent of the music business today. 

COWELL: Try it. 

KING: By the way, is it music? Is rap music music? Can you hum it. 

COWELL: Go on then. 

KING: Hum a rap tune. JACKSON: What would you like, 50 cent or...

KING: Any rap song.

SEACREST: You know, Ludacris and Usher.

JACKSON: Stand up.

KING: Hum.

COWELL: OK, I take back what I said. It would work. 

KING: How long are all of you committed to the show, Simon?

COWELL: How long are we committed? Two or three more years or so. 

SEACREST: Yes, Simon, how long are you committed?

KING: Is he the king pin? What he says...

COWELL: No, we all have separate contracts. 

KING: Thank you all very much. Ryan. Ryan, hurry up, you got another show to do. Simon, Paula, Randy. 

COWELL: I'm sorry for his disrespect. 

KING: Ryan Seacrest, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul on every night on a TV set near you. We'll be right back to talk about Kobe Bryant, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When coming home I breathe a little faster every time we together...

COWELL: Horrendous. Absolutely horrendous. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I listen to my heart my heart sings to me...

COWELL: That was painful. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All by myself, don't want to be all by myself, anymore...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Filed under: American Idol

 

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