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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 April, 2004, 07:35 GMT 08:35 UK
Cowell denies Idol 'racism' claim
Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson had been one of the favourites
American Idol judge Simon Cowell has dismissed claims made by Sir Elton John that voters on the show are racist.

Jennifer Hudson, who had been widely predicted to win, ended in the bottom three with fellow African-Americans La Toya London and Fantasia Barrino.

The result led Sir Elton to brand the public vote as "incredibly racist" after appearing as a guest judge on the TV talent show.

But Cowell said Hudson's exit had given the competition a much needed shake-up.

Better singers

More than 20 million votes were telephoned in last week which were audited by an independent company, Cowell said.

He added: "There are a lot of passive viewers who complain about the results but don't pick up the phone or text a message.

Simon Cowell is considered a harsh critic of the contestants
"We needed a shake-up and I think it will change ... my gut feeling is we are going to attract 5-6 million new voters and the better singers now have a chance."

"I am going to predict La Toya and Diana to be the two finalists ... It's just who I'm guessing America will pick.

"If it was talent it would be La Toya and Fantasia, but I just don't think it will be those two," he said.

Black singer Ruben Studdard won American Idol last year.

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02 Feb 04  |  Entertainment

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