Monday, March 26, 2007
No victory too small for Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell, the "American Idol" judge, doesn't seem troubled by his success.

I went to meet Simon Cowell in a house in the hills overlooking Los Angeles. It was one of those open floor plan homes with a fireplace, a pool, and a view that stretched for miles. When I walked in, I complimented him on the beautiful house.

"Oh, no, this is just a place I use for meetings," he said matter-of-factly.

I guess I should've known. It was a really lovely house, but it was pretty small by Cowell's standards. Let's just say he lives large. He divides his time between luxurious homes in Los Angeles and London, and has thriving businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.

When I started doing research about Cowell for this interview, I had no idea how big a figure he'd become in the music industry. His perch on American Idol is probably his most visible job, but it actually accounts for just a fraction of Cowell's enormous income.

He reportedly earns about $30 million a year as a judge on "American Idol," but he earns even more than that on a similar show in England called the "X Factor," which he created. He also has a deal with Sony/BMG that is reportedly in the neighborhood of $100 million and he gets a cut of every release from every Idol artist worldwide. As he will happily tell you, that means he sells more records than Bruce Springsteen.

Simon Cowell may seem mean to some viewers of American Idol, but in person he is actually very friendly and disarmingly honest. He likes being a celebrity. He likes the notoriety, the attention, he likes the money and the power, and he's not ashamed of that one bit. Nonetheless, Cowell doesn't seem to take himself too seriously, and I find that refreshing for someone who is so successful. He can laugh at himself. I know it may not seem like much, but there are a lot of celebrities who can't even do that. (Watch Cowell discuss one couple's unusual offer)

For this segment, I spent a weekend interviewing Cowell in Los Angeles. I also hitched a ride with him and Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest on a private plane to Las Vegas. Cowell and Seacrest spar a lot on "American Idol," but in real life they seem to be genuine friends, though they are intensely competitive with one another. Cowell told me that while he is happy for Ryan's success, he insists he is physically pained anytime he hears that Ryan has made a lucrative deal.

For me, the highlight of the weekend was racing Cowell at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Cowell likes to race high-speed go carts, but this was the first time either of us had been in Indy-style cars. We both got up to 175 mph, but as Cowell will quickly tell you, he beat me by a second or two.

"I could have gone faster," he assured me when he took his helmet off after the final lap. We both laughed, but I know he wasn't kidding.

See you tonight.

Editor's note: Anderson's "60 Minutes" interview with Simon Cowell will air on tonight's "360" at 10 p.m. ET.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 2:43 PM ET
Simon is far to arrogant for my taste. I don't understand why he is so popular. I am glad you're running the interview on your show Anderson, because I missed it on 60 Minutes. I will look forward to seeing you tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Jess, Paris, KY : 3:28 PM ET
Anderson.....I am so glad that we get to see your interview with Simon Cowell again. I personally am a hugh fan of Simon's. I love that he says what we are all thinking at home. It is quite refreshing. And for all those who say Simon is too harsh on the contestants.....truth is we are all thinking what he says......get over it.

Simon is such a brillant businessman that he deserves everything he has earned for himself.

Anderson, thank you for giving us a different side of Simon......and Simon thank you for letting us see Anderson on the race track with you.....awesome televison.

(PS - Simon has it right on this year with Melinda.....she is going to win the whole thing :P)
Posted By Anonymous Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada : 3:29 PM ET
To Betty in Texas:
Actually, American Idol IS trying to make a difference. Paula and Randy have helped in New Orleans and Simon and Ryan Secreast were in Africa to generate attention on the problems there, so maybe you should check out your facts before making blanket statements like that. A lot of celebrities do wonderful charitable things all the time-Oprah, Sandra Bullock, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt--to name only a few. And after watching a week of Chefographies on Food TV, I know now that Sandra Lee also does great philanthropic things as well. I call that making a difference too. Reporters are not the only ones who are capable of that.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie Darby, Denham Springs, LA : 3:30 PM ET
I'm not irritated at Anderson Cooper or even the producers this time- lol- and not even really at Simon Cowell.... but I just feel like... Hey Simon, you do WHAT with all that money and power? You contribute WHAT to society? HOW are YOU helping anyone?? I'm just mad, I guess, because I can't stand abuse of power. Simon Cowell seems like a nice enough guy, sure, but- I don't know. I just believe the old saying of "with great power comes great responsibility". He, and others like him (rich and powerful) could do so much more with their lives, and yet they chose to do.... THAT.
Posted By Anonymous Sharla Jones, Stratford, NJ : 3:36 PM ET
wow, heck i'd be satisfied with just one million after taxes! believe it or not i could make that last indefinitley if i played my cards right! love the show though...kewl to see that he is nice irl.
Posted By Anonymous chris williamsburg, va : 3:40 PM ET
Hey Anderson~
Sounds like an enjoyable MAN"S interview. I don't even know who Simon Cowell is nor do I really care. Celebrity is wasted on me. I am not impressed. The interview may be interesting ( it would be more so if I gave a damn) but who knows? Maybe after viewing the interview I will turn on American Idol and watch, but I doubt it! As a news junkie, I would much rather hear about something else with more SUBSTANCE that is going on in the world, ANYTHING else!
I'm glad you had a good time with Mr. Cowell in Vegas. It sounds like a fun manly week-end but not a good news story, at least that is just my opinion. Is it just me or does anyone else think Mr. Cowell sounds like an ego~maniac? Sickening!
By the way. It is not "making love" when you pay someone to watch you and your mate having sex. It's just sex, kinky sex. I am sure a lot of men would say they would watch for FREE!
I am curious to watch the interview now. I will just keep my nausea meds handy!!
Well, I guess you have something on your show for everyone!
P.S. I hope we have an update on Jeff Corwin. He, like you Anderson, makes a real difference!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 3:44 PM ET
I saw the segment when it originally aired on 60 minutes and I'll watch it again. There is one thing that I found interesting in the original telecast which is that Simon's body language when he was being critiqued by the pro-racers seemed to me as though he was uncomfortable. It wasn't his element and so even if he thought that he was good, it still affected him a tad that the others didn't think he was 'all that.' Nonetheless, I do think that he is worth what they pay him and more. After all, if people want to be judged, then it's their choice. You know what you're getting into when you go on Idol and so I don't buy all the talk about he's too mean. If you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Posted By Anonymous Anita A.A. Queens, NY : 3:44 PM ET
Hey AC: I absolutely don't think he's mean but really honest and he won't lie if someone is bad but honest enough to admit if he sees potential in someone.No bullshit! But I think that contestants should pay attention to the judges when they say or give opinions of advices. They have been in the business for a while, not them, they know better if it works or not. Some contestants are so full of themselves...And I always agree about comments he makes. Yeah, he lives the high-life that we average income hard-working citizens will probably never live but why not, he worked hard for it, he has the EDGE, so be it. Greedy for success and money, yeah, why not but crushing people around along, that I really not the way I'd want to live my life. Thanks for your reports last week,hope Jeff is OK!
Posted By Anonymous Josee (Montreal, Canada) : 3:44 PM ET
Hi Anderson, welcome back! Glad you're home safely from Southeast Asia.

Simon's a fascinating character. I appreciate his brutally honest opinions when he judges contestants in Idol. It's better to tell someone that they don't have the talent to sing than see them waste their time in something they're not good at. Sometimes I wish I can be like that. Sometimes, though, I think he needs to tone it down a bit. But maybe the brutal honesty that people see on TV is part of the appeal and the ratings that go along with it. I have to admit I watch the show to hear what he has to say.

Again, welcome back! I look forward to the show tonight!
Posted By Anonymous Lilibeth, Edmonds, WA : 3:44 PM ET
I'll be sure to watch. American Idol is my second favourite show; my first is AC360 of course. Wow, you got up to 175 mph, for your Canadian viewers, what's that in kilometers?

Welcome back!
Posted By Anonymous Kelly, Toronto, ON : 3:49 PM ET
And you wanted to interview this idiot, why?
Posted By Anonymous Kathy, Wichita, KS : 3:52 PM ET
Anderson ,

As I mentioned to you on a previous blog, it's pure gluttony what this "Hollywood Phony" gets paid , the buffonery called "American Idol" serves as evidence that the values of society are sadly dictated by the frivolous and shallow world of hollywood, as I stated before you must be brain dead to watch this type of program, still, the flip side is we live in a free society.. You did the best you could with the subject matter, he contributed nothing of any relevance, just mindless chatter entirely indulgent on himself. Speaking of shallow , I did not like the boots he was wearing, I hope you called the fashion police.

Posted By Anonymous Maritza Munoz San Jose Ca : 3:54 PM ET

As I have commented before, and you get paid to do this? What fun. Looking forward to the interview tonight. I don't watch Idol much but when channel surfing I like to catch Simon's comments which I find to be honest and on the mark.
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte D Stockton CA : 3:55 PM ET
I was wondering how fast you went in your car. That had to be an awesome experience.
Posted By Anonymous Marcy, Mobile, AL : 3:56 PM ET
I really could care less about Simon. Like I said before his little act on AI is for nothing but publicity. Why couldn't you have picked someone else to interview. I know you like AI but not everyone does! Who cares how much money or fame he has! Hope you haven't gone down that road. I thought you weren't in to that stuff.Hope you haven't let your fame change you!
Posted By Anonymous Cynthia, Covington, Ga. : 3:57 PM ET
I have to be honest- I never have really understood the appeal of American Idol. After all, there doesn't appear to be a shortage of singers, movie stars and...whatever...But I have started watching it enough to know that Simon, although he is abrupt (to put it mildly) in his delivery, is usually right. How could you be anything but honest in that industry? If you don't have talent, you need to know because I bet it's a lot harder coming from a producer, talent agent, whatever. If you willingly go on a nationally televised program, I don't think you necessarily have the right to get so offended when you're told the truth. Isn't that why you're there? Or should the judges lie? Maybe these are his opinions, but like I said-he's usually right. But what happened to doing it the hard way like Madonna, who ate from garbage cans and struggled for years to get to where she is? You have to admire someone who is willing to go that far to make it. That's a true "star."
Posted By Anonymous Debbie, Denham Springs, LA : 4:00 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
It is interesting that Simon Cowell cannot sing or play an instrument himself, yet he has made quite a career for himself in the industry. For all the bad press he gets for being so "mean", he is usually right on the money!
Looking forward to the interview.
Posted By Anonymous Pamina, Pittsford, New York : 4:02 PM ET
Cowell's success is somewhat refreshing if only for his honesty. Sure, the concept of mass producing and marketing pop culture is generally repugnant, but at least Cowell calls it as he sees it: that most of the kids who come through idol aren't very talented, and are largely there because they lack either the talent or work ethic to build a career through traditional means.

That individuals who have busted their butts in the industry and have gobs of talent -- see Melissa Doolittle, Taylor Hicks and Tamyra Grey for examples -- alwasy have a better chance in such an industry-driven dreckfest is Cowell's unfortunate legacy; he's largely responsible for this format, which just furthers the descent of pop culture in a yawning chasm of the easiest answer and the least challenging sound bite.

Like PT Barnum, Cowell isn't hiding that from anyone by telling singers who can't hold key that they're "a bit pitchy" or "wonderful people".
Posted By Anonymous Jeremy Loome, Edmonton, Alberta : 4:04 PM ET
I like Simon Cowell. It's nice to see someone as successful as he is (and a self starter)speak the truth. He knows what he is talking about (as opposed to 'born with a silver spoon' Trump)and is highly intuitive. Kudos to Simon for his rags to riches success.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Kapaa, Hawaii : 4:06 PM ET

I saw the interview on 60 Minutes and enjoyed it. I'm not a big fan of American Idol, but when I have seen it, he seems to be the only truly honest one of the bunch. He may come across as cruel, but as he said, some of those folks desperately need an honest opinion before they waste any more of their lives for some pipe dream.

Keep up the good work, Anderson--you're the best!
Posted By Anonymous Dave Sumers, Tinley Park, IL : 4:07 PM ET
Don't like him. Won't like him. Ever.
Posted By Anonymous Minou, New York, NY : 4:12 PM ET
I'm amused that Cooper would write an article about someone being rich considering he is a scion of one of the wealthiest families ever.
Posted By Anonymous Ian, pittsburgh, pa : 4:12 PM ET
Hey Anderson,
I just love him. What you see is what you get and I like that. American Idol is the only reality show I watch. I love to see the teasing between him & Ryan.
He is a business man and good at what he does,so, good for him. I also appreciate that American Idol will give back this year with the money going back to help kids.
Hey,Anderson, I know how you could have gone faster than Simon in the race.They should have put a frog in the car!!!!

Joanne R.
Laval Quebec
Posted By Anonymous Joanne R. Laval Quebec : 4:20 PM ET
Dear Anderson,
It appears that you had a lot of fun interviewing Simon Cowell this weekend. Hooray for you. I am glad you had some fun, your work most of the time is pretty serious. I look forward to seeing the interview.

P.S. The sex thing is kind of weird.

Madeliene Bolden
Posted By Anonymous Madeliene Bolden; Atlanta, Georgia : 4:29 PM ET
The one main comment I hear about Cowell is people complaining about how much money he has. The bottom line is, he gets paid that much because there are alot of people who watch. If all the views went away, then the lucrative endorsements would go away. If we dislike Cowell so much, we only have ourselves to blame. Hope you enjoyed the race car, it sure looks like fun.
Posted By Anonymous Amber Mannington, W.Va. : 4:39 PM ET
Hi Anderson, I have never watched American Idol and knew nothing of Simon Cowell, but, I am always interested in people. INO the 60 Minutes interview was great and I agree with Simon on, "where are the parents of these kids that have no talent"? I would not let my children make fools of themselves in this way.
The choices that Simon has made have made him lots of money and I am happy for him.
See ya tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn Michigan : 4:45 PM ET
Wow, I really had no idea just how rich Simon was. I wonder if he does do anything "good" with his money. He can certainly afford to be generous to those in need. I'm thinking Simon must be a pretty smart man. He's got the number one show in America... and London? I've always thought Idol was a great concept. And it's a great show to watch with your family. You don't have to worry about rauncy scenes or violence popping up. (except for the commercials!)

It would be nice to read about him doing something worthy with his millions though. I'd respect him a whole lot better.

Thanks for the fun interview!! It's nice to not cry when watching your interviews! lol.
Posted By Anonymous Christine Weightman, Toms River, NJ : 4:53 PM ET
Greedy, egotistical, power-hungry twit. Why even bother?
Posted By Anonymous A. Olson, Tucson, AZ : 4:53 PM ET
Love or hate him, Simon Colwell is an entertainment genius. Every week millions of people sit in their living rooms critiquing Idol's performances, but only one person has found a way to make millions by offering his opinion. The highlight of the show is when you're able to step into Simon's head for a moment and see how he's assessing the contestants for marketability, likeability, moldability, and most importantly - profitability. The creme de la creme is that horrible contestants generate more viewers, but good contestants have higher albulm sales; which means that it doesn't matter how the season goes, because it always goes Colwell. Kudos to you on the greatest entertainment ploy of all time. Idol? No. Role Model? Definately
Posted By Anonymous Korey H, Saint John, NB, Canada : 5:05 PM ET
Anderson, becareful with Simon! If Simon likes you, he may call you his "sexy little tiger you"! If Simon does not like you he may suggest, not quiting your day time job at the local supermarket!
Posted By Anonymous Claude Calgary Alberta : 5:05 PM ET
Even though I despise the arrogance, American Idol would be American Idol without him. He is definately swimming in money. I hope that there's more to him than a hungry thirst for more money.
Posted By Anonymous Shruti Bala, Glendale, AZ : 5:24 PM ET
Well, I have to say that up until 2 weeks ago, I didn't know who Simon Cowell was or his contribution to society. I know pretty sad, right? I never heard his name because I don't watch reality TV.

The only reason I watched the show because it was on 60 minutes and there was probably more to this guy. What I deemed fascinating about this report was his business dealings and how quickly he has made a fortune. Love him or dislike him, he has made an absolute fortune on a show that has mass appeal around the world.

Congratulations to Anderson for finally getting his opening line on 60 Minutes, "This is Anderson Cooper."

I guess that is for the people that don't watch cable news!
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 5:27 PM ET
So glad to see that we will be seeing more of Simon, which is always a treat. I think we don't see enough of him on American Idol! And his appearances on talk shows are too few and far between. Also have to say I loved your book Anderson (Simon's wasn't as good as yours!).
Posted By Anonymous Ashley, Naples, FL : 5:44 PM ET
To Debbie Darby:
Geez, I had no idea Simon Cowell did any work in Africa ( like I said I don't even know who he is) but that was not what the blog was about anyway. If there were a blog about Cowell or Seacrests' work in Africa then that would be NEWS! Good news!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 5:46 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

Hi! I don't watch "American Idol," but I watched your interview and I have heard some of the "winners," so I think I am qualified to have an opinion about Simon Cowell and what he "does." "American Idol" is not unique; it is really nothing more than a glorified "Gong Show" and most of the "talents" Cowell claims to have discovered are little more than canned Muzak singers who interpret other peoples' songs. Cowell would like us to believe that quantity equals quality, but the only quality "American Idol" is producing is to Cowell's quality of life.

It isn't fair to compare any of "Idols" winners to the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Sting, Alicia Keyes, Anita Baker, and any others of that caliber, because they are truly talented musicians who not only write their own music, but many play instruments as well. Granted there are really talented singers who do not, but they are in a different league than those "interpreters" on "American Idol" whose gimmicky voices I find difficult to tolerate. Even Cowell's "pride and joy" Il Divo leave a lot to be desired. Although they sound "pleasant" enough they do not possess the quality of an Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo, or even a Josh Groban. It's like comparing Thomas Kinkade to Leonardo Da Vinci.

I will concede that Cowell is a great merchandiser who has been able to recruit easily manipulated minds to help him promote his agenda of disrespect and cruelty. You may think my assessment harsh, however, Cowell's glorification of cruelty is having an affect on our society. I know you are a fan of his, but I needed to say what I felt.

As for the couple with the 100K, they must be highly delusional or enjoy being ridiculed.

See you tonight,
Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 5:53 PM ET
I love him and would have ten thousand of his babies.
so there!
Posted By Anonymous Aunty Suzy Chicago IL : 5:54 PM ET
I may not like Simon Cowell, but this was such a great segment! I'll admit that I find him to be quite callous, but it's good to know that at least he's honest. It was great to see him in a completely different setting, such as the Indy-style cars, and for once to see him being judged. If only you could have beaten the unbeatable Simon Cowell. Well, better luck next time I guess.
Posted By Anonymous Kimberly Miller, Hiram, OH : 6:01 PM ET
Welcome Back!
I saw the segment with Simon on 60 Minutes and loved it! Sometimes Simon does come across as nasty, but there is nothing sadder than a child who learns he isn't actually "good" enough when he's been told all his/her life how great they are. They either grow up to think the rest of the world is wrong or they just won't try anymore. Not good for a child!

I saw no sign, heard no word that indicated you actually drove one of those hot cars. With the Nascar jumpsuit, how could you not?! On a track, yes! Highway, no! (I'm a speed junkie!) Guess it's because my Dad used to drive as fast as the needle allowed. I thought everyone drove that way!

So glad you're back. Great that you've been blogging! What next?

Posted By Anonymous Maggie, GV, MO : 6:11 PM ET
I already saw the interview and enjoyed it. Best part was the Indy car racing and when the distinguished panel of judges dished some out on Simon. That was a brilliant idea and worth watching again. The comment about Simon's shoes and the shoes he was actually wearing while racing the car was amusing to say the least. Thanks for the laugh Anderson!
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 6:16 PM ET
Sorry, Anderson this is the first interview of yours that I have not enjoyed. I can tolerate most celebrity interviews because I can at least come away with something from them, but this time I came away with nothing. And if I missed something I'm sorry, but I'm just no into Simon or AI. I would rather watch Project Runway or Top Chef where criticism is given, but it is given in a constructive, nonhurtful way.
Posted By Anonymous Marcia, Warren Mi : 6:20 PM ET
I think that Simon has to brag on his great wealth and material belongings to cover up for a deep seeded inadequacy. By putting down others i.e. calling them names etc. Simon is pumping his low self esteem up. Simon has apparently never heard of the golden rule, do unto others.....if I was the dude that Simon said looked like a monkey, I believe I would reciprocate in kind. Simon you are king of the world in your own mind.
Posted By Anonymous Kay St. Matthews SC : 6:21 PM ET
Good for Simon Cowell and the rest of the American Idol team. I think the music industry is in a drought! Any program that offers prospects of musical talent is a start to getting back to legendary songs like Stairway to Heaven. I could use about 150 new songs to put on my ipod. Where are all the good musicians?
As far as the money goes, everything is a double edge sword, good and challenges.
Thanx for CNN 360.
Take Care of yourself.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Boston, MA : 6:22 PM ET
its not surprising that simon cowell may be a different person of the set of american idol.
Posted By Anonymous jane, columbus, ohio : 6:24 PM ET
Come on Anderson, couldn't you have asked a few tough questions like: how do some of these people get through the multiple "screenings" to audition on TV, & why do they let people with obvious mental or drug problems get to that point? "Reality show"? - not really. In-depth interview? Were you afraid to get on his bad side?
Posted By Anonymous Denise, Overland Park, KS : 12:01 AM ET
I am so glad you interviewed Simon Cowell. I don't think he is mean - very truthful. Others could take a lesson instead of paying lip service.
Posted By Anonymous Karen L, Pembroke, ON Canada : 12:05 AM ET
Good interview Anderson. I dont know how you keep your cool.
As for Simon, I had a hard time believing his story about the couple who wanted him to rate them in bed. For some reason I think he just made this up to adorn his ego further still. Over all if I were rate him as a human being, I'd say the only thing he cares about is money and his own sense of self importance. It's interesting what you see on the surface with this man. I dont think I'd want to know what's underneith it all. Maybe nothing but stars and dollar signs. It seems to me the people he promotes out of his system of things, are like a factory object on an esembly line. All appearance, but no real soul. It also seems to me that he would do equally well designing Barbie Dolls and you know of course he'd be the Big Ken dollwith the rubber head. lol thanks, I had to say it.
Posted By Anonymous Andrea Duncan Parker Oklahoma : 12:09 AM ET
Well, I liked the way Simon says he's doing people a favor by using his brutal honesty. Hey! I have an idea. He could count it as community service and if he hurries up, he may get a tax deduction! I know, I know. That idea is "possitively dreadful."
Posted By Anonymous Alejandra Rodriguez, Waverly Ohio : 12:28 AM ET
"Honest," you say? Do you actually believe all those cruel, callous comments serve anything other than ratings? Simon would have us believe that all those poor, pathetic contestants know what they're getting into, so no harm done. But the truth is that the contests we see on television - both the good and the bad - have gone through other auditions to make it that far. They're led to believe there's a reason they have the "honor" of meeting Simon, Paula, and Randy.

I think Simon is the epitome of everything that's wrong with America... that anything you do is OK so long as you're making a lot of money doing it. He's arrogant, greedy, and clearly has a selfish disdain for the feelings of others.
Posted By Anonymous Angela, Sunnyvale, CA : 12:50 AM ET
I can't believe you are using MORE airtime to talk about American Idol. Any respect I had for this show from the real journalism is now gone.
Posted By Anonymous Alex, Columbus, Ohio : 12:56 AM ET
Great interview with Simon Anderson,I am a hugh fan of Il Divo and have all their cd's. I want to thank you for all of your care and concern for animals all over the world.I love your show and rank you right up there with Il Divo. Thanks!
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte, Elba, Alabama : 1:01 AM ET
Simon Cowell is not MEAN. Like myself he is honest.I am not saying I ALWAYS agree with him,but MANY times I do.
One time a person was auditioning and singing All By Myself and I thought you will be if you keep singing like that and I just got the thought out of my head when he said it and I laughed.
Simon and I think alike quite a bit.Far be it to be honest than let some of these people continue to be delusional.The one's where you need Head On applied directly tot he forehead or Advil ,Excedrin headache #3987.It amazes me sometime how angry people get when you tell them they can't sing,but I like Simon I really do
Posted By Anonymous JANICE NEW ORLEANS,LA. : 1:01 AM ET
The one and foremost reason I watch American Idol is because of Simon. Those talents are only secondary. He's brutally Honest. And that's what I like best. If you don't like it, Tough!
Posted By Anonymous Odette Castillo, Austin Texas : 1:03 AM ET
Simon Cowell represents everything I can't stand about the music industry. He's a big wig in the music industry, yet he's not a musician. He's knows, and cares more about money than music. I'd respect his criticism a lot more if he actually knew how to sing, or perhaps played an instrument. Then maybe he would atleast know how much hard work goes into some of these performances, and maybe know a little bit about what real music is. The term "armchair quarterback" comes to mind. Only worse because he has the power to sign "musicians." It's because the music industry is run by people like him... buisnessmen with no musical creditials is the reason the mainstream music industry is producing such mediocre music these days.
Posted By Anonymous Travis, Colorado Springs, CO : 1:09 AM ET
I have always loved Simon Cowell. I think he is great!!! He usually says exactly what I am thinking, although I would never be able to put it so bluntly. American Idol is good entertainment that I look forward to after a long day at work. It allows me to escape for a little while. Television in general has become very boring. Everything is exactly the same. There is no real entertainment anymore. Every newscast is the same. Anna Nicole, pathetic creature that she was,is America's current diversion. She has been on station after station. Who cares anymore!!!!!Anyway, I admire Simon's achievements, drive and ability to know a good thing when he sees it. He is a smart man.
Posted By Anonymous Annette, Monterey California : 1:21 AM ET
Whatever people might call it, verbal abuse is verbal abuse whether it�s on telly or in the sanctuary of your own home. I don�t agree with his form of critique but one has got to admit he�s mostly right when it comes to American Idol.
I believe there are better ways of sharing thoughts and opinions but in showbiz, this is what works, sadly.
I wonder if he�s as hard as he portrays or is it just good acting when he looked a tad uncomfortable during the judgment?
Didn�t know you race and at that speed? I�ve done Go-Karts and I�ve been in a race car with a friend who�s a race driver going at really high speed around the track. The downer is that he didn�t let me drive though.
You looked like you had fun. Good for you.

LaiPeng Foong
Penang, Malaysia
Posted By Anonymous LaiPengFoong, Penang, Malaysia : 1:34 AM ET
Hello Anderson,
I truly enjoyed the interview with Simon Cowell. I think he speaks the truth even if brutal. lol I do not care for celebrities but I do admire someone that is honest and can laugh at himself. Welcome home Anderson!!!!
I look forward to your show tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Sonia D. Lancaster, PA : 4:12 AM ET
i think simon has an eye for talent.he should refrain from passing personal comments though because that really isn't funny.he's absolutely right about most of the people's singing talents and their performing abilities.
Posted By Anonymous naurah,lahore,pakistan : 6:20 AM ET
Hi Anderson,

You use cynicism a lot in your reportings and hopefully you won't turn into a bitter grumpy old man yourself.

One moment you are reporting on innocent abused little children and wild animals in Asia and the other moment you are reporting on bitter rich money moguls like Simon.

You missed out on reporting about his first job in which he dressed like a Bunny (with a big bunny head and ears)and judged little kids and teenagers.
And you forgot to ask him to judge Bush, the Iraqy war and all the suffering. If he donates to the gorillas, he'll receive a tax brake.

Ryan Seacrest appears on almost every channel: I watched him dating and interviewing Tyra Banks at the same time. What a guy!
Posted By Anonymous Ratna, New York, NY : 7:18 AM ET
It's great that Simon is brutally honest on Idol. I don't watch the show anymore but if you had more of that kind of honesty where we really needed it (politics,health care,real estate big business etc.) we would be living in a more pleasant society. No not every child is talented and if you don't like the harsh criticism make sure that you are honest with your children. You must have talent and that talent must be nurtured with study and practice!
Posted By Anonymous David NY. NY. : 8:15 AM ET
Wow Anderson, thanks for this hard hitting 'news' story. I know that the world is not all doom and gloom and we need to have fun and interesting stories to help us get through the realities of our world but seriously, could you not have chosen a topic that was a little more CNN and a little less E entertainment?
As far as Simon Cowell is concerned I feel sorry for the people in my office who obsess over this ridiculous show and the people who are on it, how empty and sad does your life have to be that you would care about any of these people?
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Orlando, Fl. : 9:30 AM ET
Can someone tell me the kind of deal that an American Idol has to sign..Why does Cowell get any of it???
Posted By Anonymous Greg, Senoia Ga : 9:46 AM ET
Dear Anderson,
Glad you're back safe and sound from your trip.

The look from Simon's face when the experts critiqued on his performance at the speedway was priceless!! Great interview.
Posted By Anonymous Sharmila, Blacksburg VA. : 9:49 AM ET
This is sad commentary on our culture. THIS GUY is something special? Wow! America has run out of taste!
Posted By Anonymous K Beaudoin, Corinth TX : 10:09 AM ET
If contestants in AI can't handle a little criticism from Simon, then they have no business being in show biz. Even our very own Anderson Cooper faces criticism almost all the time, but he still gets up in the morning and comes to work (well I�m guessing). No matter what is your profession, there are always going to be people who are going to criticize your work. Instead of whining about it, listen carefully to the criticisms and try to become a better person. Especially in show biz, there are two things you must know: Either you are very good and people can�t stop raving about you or you are less than perfect or mediocre and people can�t stop criticizing you. Either one is good because in show biz no publicity is bad publicity. It puts you on the map. If you can�t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Anyways Simon Cowell makes good TV. Getting mad and criticizing Simon won�t get anyone anywhere, because for someone like Simon criticism only motivates him to be better at what he does. So keep it coming America. I am sure Simon Cowell loves a challenge.
Posted By Anonymous Sanjiad Alam, woodhaven, NY : 11:43 AM ET
I am an American living in London. I can tell you, Simon is a generous person and not at all like what is shown only on American Idol. As for mean, well, the British are honest, they say what they think. Some find it refreshing, some find it irritating. I thought your interview was spot on, Simon can appear to be uncomfortable in his public role, however, he worked his way up on a hard road. I'm not saying I like the guy, I think that assumptions made without knowing what he is really like is wrong.
Posted By Anonymous Layne, London, England : 2:28 PM ET
Hi Anderson

Just to add a Brits view on Simon Cowell, he is obviously an astute businessman and to be fair has backed some great talent such as Il Divo.

However, his back catalogue is some what dodgy i.e. Zig and Zag, Robson and Jerome and Mr Blobby - I kid you not !!!! - you may be able to download these many artists on itunes. Cowell will promote anything that will make money.

The X factor is indeed a popular show here in the UK. However, previous winners have disappeared - probably into the Blobby costume after poor record sales.

As to racing cars, that sounds like great fun. I challenge you to interview Michael Schumacher, x7 Formula 1 Champion who will make 175 mph look slow !
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Canterbury, UK : 2:58 PM ET
I didn't watch last night.... just seeing this story on the blog then the program starting off with Anna Nicole Smith was all it took for me to start channel surfing. If we wanted this kind of crap wouldn't we be watching Entertainment Tonight? I think it's on at the same time here in So Cal. As far as I know "there's a war going on", but apparently that is not as important as ANS.
Posted By Anonymous Carol, Hesperia, Calif. : 4:35 PM ET
Very, very interesting reporting last week about human trafficking and slavery, especially the horrifying eye-openers about how young these girls are. I expected to tune in last night to see more in depth on that - how can we change this situation - possibly some interviews with more groups who are trying different ways to put a stop to this - what are the different ways to put a stop to this - oh so many more questions on a subject that finally received some quality attention (THANK YOU!) and needs ever so very much more. But what did I get when I turned on AC360 last night? Anna Nicole and that Simon guy - every time I had to click the remote quickly, then when I came back you were still talking about them. Why, why, why - please tell me why. I cannot think of any reason at all that either of these two people would be even mentioned, let alone covered extensively, on AC360. Did Murdock purchase CNN over the weekend? Did AC360 change format and will now be an entertainment show? Are your producers being blackmailed by someone? When AC360 covers important issues like Darfur, abuse of children, the environment, New Orleans (still!), to name just a few, it is the very best of what a television is for. Please don't make me turn it off again.
Posted By Anonymous Nora, Philadelphia, PA : 5:52 PM ET
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.

• 01/29/2006 - 02/05/2006
• 02/05/2006 - 02/12/2006
• 02/12/2006 - 02/19/2006
• 02/19/2006 - 02/26/2006
• 02/26/2006 - 03/05/2006
• 03/05/2006 - 03/12/2006
• 03/12/2006 - 03/19/2006
• 03/19/2006 - 03/26/2006
• 03/26/2006 - 04/02/2006
• 04/02/2006 - 04/09/2006
• 04/09/2006 - 04/16/2006
• 04/16/2006 - 04/23/2006
• 04/23/2006 - 04/30/2006
• 04/30/2006 - 05/07/2006
• 05/07/2006 - 05/14/2006
• 05/14/2006 - 05/21/2006
• 05/21/2006 - 05/28/2006
• 05/28/2006 - 06/04/2006
• 06/04/2006 - 06/11/2006
• 06/11/2006 - 06/18/2006
• 06/18/2006 - 06/25/2006
• 06/25/2006 - 07/02/2006
• 07/02/2006 - 07/09/2006
• 07/09/2006 - 07/16/2006
• 07/16/2006 - 07/23/2006
• 07/23/2006 - 07/30/2006
• 07/30/2006 - 08/06/2006
• 08/06/2006 - 08/13/2006
• 08/13/2006 - 08/20/2006
• 08/20/2006 - 08/27/2006
• 08/27/2006 - 09/03/2006
• 09/03/2006 - 09/10/2006
• 09/10/2006 - 09/17/2006
• 09/17/2006 - 09/24/2006
• 09/24/2006 - 10/01/2006
• 10/01/2006 - 10/08/2006
• 10/08/2006 - 10/15/2006
• 10/15/2006 - 10/22/2006
• 10/22/2006 - 10/29/2006
• 10/29/2006 - 11/05/2006
• 11/05/2006 - 11/12/2006
• 11/12/2006 - 11/19/2006
• 11/19/2006 - 11/26/2006
• 11/26/2006 - 12/03/2006
• 12/03/2006 - 12/10/2006
• 12/10/2006 - 12/17/2006
• 12/17/2006 - 12/24/2006
• 12/24/2006 - 12/31/2006
• 12/31/2006 - 01/07/2007
• 01/07/2007 - 01/14/2007
• 01/14/2007 - 01/21/2007
• 01/21/2007 - 01/28/2007
• 01/28/2007 - 02/04/2007
• 02/04/2007 - 02/11/2007
• 02/11/2007 - 02/18/2007
• 02/18/2007 - 02/25/2007
• 02/25/2007 - 03/04/2007
• 03/04/2007 - 03/11/2007
• 03/11/2007 - 03/18/2007
• 03/18/2007 - 03/25/2007
• 03/25/2007 - 04/01/2007
• 04/01/2007 - 04/08/2007
• 04/08/2007 - 04/15/2007
• 04/15/2007 - 04/22/2007
• 04/22/2007 - 04/29/2007
• 04/29/2007 - 05/06/2007
• 05/06/2007 - 05/13/2007
• 05/13/2007 - 05/20/2007
• 05/20/2007 - 05/27/2007
• 05/27/2007 - 06/03/2007
• 06/03/2007 - 06/10/2007
• 06/10/2007 - 06/17/2007
• 06/17/2007 - 06/24/2007
• 06/24/2007 - 07/01/2007
• 07/01/2007 - 07/08/2007
• 07/08/2007 - 07/15/2007
• 07/15/2007 - 07/22/2007
• 07/22/2007 - 07/29/2007
• 07/29/2007 - 08/05/2007
• 08/05/2007 - 08/12/2007
• 08/12/2007 - 08/19/2007
• 08/19/2007 - 08/26/2007
• 08/26/2007 - 09/02/2007
• 09/02/2007 - 09/09/2007
• 09/09/2007 - 09/16/2007
• 09/16/2007 - 09/23/2007
• 09/23/2007 - 09/30/2007
• 09/30/2007 - 10/07/2007
• 10/07/2007 - 10/14/2007
• 10/14/2007 - 10/21/2007
• 10/21/2007 - 10/28/2007
• 10/28/2007 - 11/04/2007
• 11/04/2007 - 11/11/2007
• 11/11/2007 - 11/18/2007
• 11/18/2007 - 11/25/2007
• 11/25/2007 - 12/02/2007
• 12/02/2007 - 12/09/2007
• 12/09/2007 - 12/16/2007
• 12/16/2007 - 12/23/2007
• 12/23/2007 - 12/30/2007
• 12/30/2007 - 01/06/2008

    What's this?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.