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You take singing lessons? Do you have a lawyer? Get a lawyer and sue your teacher.
- You really want to pee on my face
- Why are you having a normal conversation with him? This is a dairy farmer dressed as a woman.
- You and Latin music go together like chocolate ice cream and an onion. To contestant John Stevens
- You are a saucy little thing aren't you?
- You are the worst singer in America.
- You are the worst singer in New York.
- You are the worst singer in the world.
- You are the worst singer I've ever heard in my life.
- You are what we call a naughty little minx.
- To Season 5 contestant Kelly Pickler
- Oh shut up Paula and you are a disgraceful pig
- You can't sing; you can't dance; so what do you want me to say?
- To William Hung
- You've got quite a good voice, the problem I have is this looks to me like 10 years ago.
- It would be rather like ordering a guard dog for your home and getting delivered a poodle in a leather jacket... Its not the real thing.
- to Constantine Maroulis
- You look like one of those creatures in the jungle with the big eyes....a bush-baby.
- Is that a ponytail mohawk?
- to Sanjaya Malakar
- Wow, she was so excited she broke the door. (After a passed contestant ran through the locked door and apparently broke it)
- Are you being a smart ass? Now you can be a smart ass.
- You are rude and delusional.
- Oh shut up Paula.
- I'm sorry! Sorry! Excuse me for having an opinion! (Towards the fans)
- It was like some ghastly lunch where your parents ask the kids to dress up and sing and they really don't like what they hear. It was all a little weird.
- to Sanjaya Malakar
- It was like Dolly Parton on helium. It sounded like some ghastly country fair. (to Kristy Lee Cook)
- I feel as if I am in some ghastly restaurant on Valentine's Day and one of the waiters whips out a guitar and murders a Bryan Adams song. It was incredibly corny.
- I don't know what Paula listens to on the radio anymore. (when Paula told a contestant that she could hear their performance on the radio right now)
- You're like a dependable old dog.
- It was the equivalant of musical wallpaper
- In a competition of hamburgers, you are a steak.
- Queen never performed that song live because it's not a good song.
- I don't know what this show is anymore. I have you standing in front of me dressed up as some sort of Easter Bunny nightmare experiment, the singing was atrocious, you're not 26, you're not going through to the next round, so you might as well own up and tell us: How old are you?
- to Margaret "Big Bird" Fowler, who was really 50
- Barry Manilow just threw his TV out the window of his hotel room in Vegas.
- after a contestant sang "Copacabana"
- I'm tempted just to give 23 people their plane tickets home. (To LaKisha Jones)
- Paula must have been starved for entertainment as a child. (after Paula complimented a performance Simon disliked)
- If this remains a talent competition rather than a popularity contest, you could win it all.
- To A.I. Season Four Winner Carrie Underwood; Carrie, I'm going to make a prediction. Not only will you win this show, you will sell more records than any other previous Idol winner.
- You killed it. You totally murdered it.
- OK, you're out of tune, out of time, and you're out of here.
- Ok, zero for effort, zero for style, zero for star quality, and you know what? I'm being generous.
- Cowell: You sing like the Spice Girls.
- Contestant: Thanks.
- Cowell: Unfortunately, that wasn't a compliment.
- Cowell:Have you ever been called precocious?
- Contestant:What does that mean?
- Cowell: I don't know what you're thinking! (To contestant Jason Castro)
- Jason Castro: I was thinking Bob Marley! Yeah!
- Cowell: Well, here's a new word, that was extraordinary.
- Contestant: Thank you.
- Cowell: Unfortunately, extraordinarily bad.
To X-Factor contestants
- Across this show, across Idol, across all the other shows... You are, absolutely, the best contestant I have ever had across any of these shows. ( to Leona Lewis)
- [I]f she hadn't have entered the X-Factor, someone as talented as Leona [Lewis] would still be working as a receptionist right now. And I find that staggering.
- Alright we've heard enough. I think you're probably the most disillusioned group of people we've had in this competition. And that's the truth. I think the group is horrendous, you have absolutely zero edge, no originality, I think individually you're weak, I think as a group you're even worse. Absolutely zero chance of you guys ever ever ever having a successful career. (to a group in the audition process)
To Britain's Got Talent contestants
- What the bloody hell was that?
- Guys... three yeses!
Regarding his show and his conduct
- I am happy that we have been able to sort out our differences and find an amicable solution to our problems.
- I haven’t done anything particularly harsh. Harshness to me is giving somebody false hopes and not following through. That’s harsh. Telling some guy or some girl who’ve got zero talent that they have zero talent actually is a kindness.
- I like the fact that they're cocky now from the age of four.
- I think we've got better talent than last year. There are two or three contestants, even without the competition, we would take seriously as a record label. If I don't find an international artist this year, then I will have failed. That is the one thing that interests me.
- I think you have to judge everything based on your personal taste. And if that means being critical, so be it. I hate political correctness. I absolutely loathe it.
- If I said to most of the people who auditioned, "Good job, awesome, well done," it would have made me actually look and feel ridiculous. It's quite obvious most of the people who turned up for this audition were hopeless.
- It is a personal thrill for me to play a role in giving the best young singers in America a shot at realizing their dreams. I'm also happy to be working with my good friend Simon Fuller for the foreseeable future and I look forward to continuing to be a part of the Fox network and the phenomenal success that is American Idol.
- Not everybody is perfect, and I don't think we should be looking for perfect people.
- Ryan, with respect, I do this for a living. I don't play at it like you.
- That process works very well, in that you've got a very clear A to Z path. But you've also got a sense of responsibility from the judges, who actually try to help the contestants.
- The object of this competition is not to be mean to the losers but to find a winner. The process makes you mean because you get frustrated. Kids turn up unrehearsed, wearing the wrong clothes, singing out of tune and you can either say, "Good job," and patronize them or tell them the truth, and sometimes the truth is perceived as mean.
- They all hate each other deep down, but they're not gonna say it on camera. Ask Kelly how many congratulation e-mails she got from the other contestants. Probably zero. But that's the music business. In a positive way, I like that. I like the fact that people enter the show because they might win.
In response to Paula Abdul's suggestion that they should hold an "All Star" idol competition to find out who is truly the best singer in America:
- I'm sure Kelly would love to participate in that. ( Referring to Kelly Clarkson's apparent bad sportsmanship during the World Idol in which she lost to gap-toothed Kurt Nilsen)
- On Paula Abdul - "I call her my poodle. In otherwords, you sit your poodle on your lap, you stroke it and it will lick your face and we're both happy." [Simon Cowell, April 2004 'Simon Cowell-American Idol']
- Paula you're diffy
On other matters
- Big Brother is not reality anymore. You don't get 10 normal people to do it. You get 10 crap actors in the house.
- If you've got a big mouth and you're controversial, you're going to get attention.
- I can't bear political correctness. I don't like a rule driven life and I hate the fact that you can't criticise a fat person.
- I met someone the other night who's 28 years old, and he hasn't worked a day since he left college because he's pursuing a dream he'll never, ever realize: He thinks he's a great singer. Actually, he's crap. But nobody has said to him, "Why have you been wasting your time for eight years?"
- The end of the animal trade would leave more time to trap or beat to death pop star wannabes.
- We [the English] have hated the French for years. Now you have just joined the club. It makes you much more likable.
- We told the judges that we would rather you were human about the approach rather than completely scientific, otherwise it turns into a gadget show. The show has a lot of similarities to Idol in that you can relate to the person coming into the room and form an opinion early on.
- Women say hello and then put their hands down my trousers. I thought it was my hand they were supposed to shake.