Originally created 06/17/04

'American Idol' host says judge Cowell is pompous, arrogant



SINGAPORE -- Ryan Seacrest, the host of television hit "American Idol," said the show's lead judge Simon Cowell is arrogant and pompous and says things that are "too harsh," a report said Wednesday.

But Seacrest added that Cowell was a good friend and the "most honest" of the show's three judges, in an interview with the Straits Times newspaper in Singapore, where a local version of the program is planned.

"I think that he's pompous. I think that he's arrogant. So my feelings about him, and the way that I address him on air, are very real," Seacrest was cited as saying in the interview.

Cowell is famous for his searing putdowns of contestants that do not, in his opinion, make the grade with their performances.

"I think he says things that are at times a bit too harsh and could probably convey them in a different light so that they don't crush a young person's dream," Seacrest said.

Last month, a record 65 million U.S. phone votes were cast in the final round of the latest series of "American Idol" as Fantasia Barrino, a 19-year-old single mother, emerged as the tearful winner.

Seacrest said the show "will certainly be on air for the next few years."

"There's no telling what will happen after that but as long as people are watching it, then we should make the show," he said.

Seacrest got his start on Atlanta pop station Star 94 as a teenager and attended the University of Georgia.