Simon Cowell says Taylor Hicks won because Idol 5 was a “popularity contest”

Because this season of American Idol is so dull, Simon Cowell decided to make news by slamming previous seasons’ contestants. Specifically, he’s criticizing Taylor Hicks, whose record sales are unimpressive, and Jennifer Hudson, who didn’t thank the show after winning an Oscar.

At the Museum of Television & Radio late last week, Simon said, “At the end of the day, you’ve got to find a bona fide recording artist, because without that success, the competition doesn’t mean anything. That’s where we have to be careful that this doesn’t turn into a popularity contest, because if it’s a popularity contest, it’s like winning Big Brother, and nothing’s gonna happen. That’s what happened with Chris [Daughtry] and Taylor [Hicks, from season five]. Chris is the one who sold the albums. Taylor hasn’t,” E! Online’s Kristin reports.

Simon was particularly irritated by Jennifer Hudson’s Oscar speech, because it showed her to be one of those contestants who “deliberately turn against the show that made them successful.” People reports that he said, “Jennifer Hudson said American Idol was a ‘stepping stone’ for her. Stepping stone? It was her big opportunity to become noticed and she got noticed and she got Dreamgirls. … The reason (people) come on the show is because all the doors had been slammed in their face.”

TV Fest ’07: Simon, Paula & Randy Give Us a Touch of Idol Fever [E! Online]
Simon Trashes Jennifer Hudson and Taylor Hicks [People]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.

A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.