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Seacrest calls 'Idol's' Simon 'arrogant, pompous'

Ryan Seacrest
Ryan Seacrest
Larry King
Paula Abdul

(CNN) -- Simon Cowell, the "American Idol" judge known for his over-the-top critiques of pop star wannabes, doesn't just drive contestants and audience members crazy. He also irks his peers.

"He's arrogant, he's pompous, he believes that everything he says is right, he drives you crazy. He actually tries to get under your skin," American Idol co-host Ryan Seacrest told CNN's "Larry King Live." "But he does know what he's doing."

Seacrest credited Cowell, 46, with playing a huge part in the show's success -- a feat that also has gone to the head of the outspoken Briton.

"I think that's the problem with our relationship with Simon -- is that he's extremely aware of how important he is to the success of the show," Seacrest said.

Asked if Cowell was pompous, Seacrest said, "He's pompous. I think it's a mild term to use."

Singer Paula Abdul, a panelist who sits beside Cowell, agreed with Seacrest's assessment. She said she never would have auditioned for the show when she was younger, solely because of her colleague's brashness.

"Consensus amongst every recording artist I know: Heck no," she told CNN's King when asked if she would have auditioned. "Who wants to audition in front of Simon Cowell?"

Asked how much of Cowell's performance is a "schtick," she said, "None."

However, Seacrest said, "He does say things to make a soundbite. He does say things to get a rise."

"I think he knows how to articulate something that people are entertained by and still be true to the message he's trying to send," he said, adding that Cowell is "very aware of himself."

At one point, a caller said she didn't understand why Abdul wasn't "crazy about Simon."

Abdul responded that she has a love-hate relationship with him.

"There is love there, and then there's times when I can't even stomach him."

She said she could never date him because, "I'd have to face him after the date."

Seacrest, joking with Abdul, added, "Think of your worst nightmare and never waking up from that. That would be the rest of your life married to this man. It would all be about him and not you. Valentine's Day would be a celebration of him."

"American Idol," the smash-hit reality show in which the audience picks the ultimate winner of the program, is in its fourth season.

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