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  Simon Cowell on Pop Idol 2
Updated 06 August 2003, 15.58

Simon Cowell has a reputation of being the harshest on the panel of Pop Idol judges.

Find out what he's got to say about this year's show.

Have there been any arguments so far?
Yes, every day. But it means you like somebody if you're comfortable enough to have an argument, if that makes sense.

Who do you argue with?
Pretty much all of them actually. They all gang up on me, but that's all part of the fun, isn't it? You should be able to express your opinions.

Have you spotted anyone who you would like to be your Pop Idol yet?
I haven't seen a Gareth Gates yet, I've seen some good singers, and we're all aware that with the first English show and American show we didn't spot the winner until they made the top 10, so it will probably happen again this year. They suddenly just get great towards the end. We didn't spot Will on his first audition.

The judges mean business!
The judges mean business!
Have there been some awful people?
Awful. Absolutely awful, just useless, but you get that all over the world now. We live in a fame epidemic all over the world; it's like a disease. And 99% of the people who turn up are useless, they're just not aware of it.

What's the difference between this year and last year talent wise?
Not much difference. I think the desire this year is stronger because they've seen what could happen to them if they won this competition.

Which songs are emerging as popular?
This is the boring part of the show. You just hear the same songs over and over again. Up in the north we're hearing a lot of Justin Timberlake, which is a mistake. There's only one Justin Timberlake and it's a performance thing, so it's a mistake. They just can't do it and it looks ridiculous.

Simon having one of his 'moments'
Simon having one of his 'moments'
What song would you perform if you were auditioning?
It's just about finding a song that suits you. And try and choose a song where you don't copy the original that much. It's a difficult question to answer that one.

What do you think about America talent versus UK talent?
Where I don't see a huge difference is in the guys, but I do think the American girls tend to be better than the English girls. Although I am seeing an improvement in the English girls this time around. I've seen a couple of English girls who are very, very good. Certainly much, much better than we saw in the first series.

Have you got a top tip for a wannabe?
First of all you have to rehearse. Secondly, you have to believe you are a star. And thirdly, don't impersonate people.

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