A report in the upcoming issue of Star says that the banter between Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell is not spontaneous, but is instead “outlined,” and that Cowell’s insults are pre-planned.
An “insider” tells the tabloid, “Most of these rifts have been outlined. … The truth is Ryan is just as focused on the show’s popularity as Simon. There’s no real drama. It’s all for the cameras!” (That last part isn’t a surprise; Ryan and Simon are well-documented buddies.)
More damning, however, is the anonymous person’s accusations that the show’s executive producer tells Simon who to criticize. “The executive producer of the show, Nigel Lythgoe, watches the rehearsals and writes notes on who Simon should make snarky comments about. That’s what’s on the sheets of paper on the judging desk. Simon is not the evil guy you think he is,” the source tells Star, according to Jeannette Walls’ account.
If true, that would seem to compromise the show’s integrity as a competition; if Simon criticizes someone, the voting audience frequently listens, and telling him to target certain singers could lead to viewers targeting that person.