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Simon Says "I Wasn't Listening. I'm Horrified!"

4/18/2007 2:40 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Simon CowellTMZ spoke with Simon Cowell this morning about last night's incident on "A.I.," in which Cowell sarcastically rolled his eyes after contestant Chris Richardson offered condolences to the families of the victims at Virginia Tech.

Cowell told TMZ, "I couldn't hear what Chris had said. I was talking to Paula. My reaction (rolling my eyes) was to what he had said previously, that singing nasally is a form of singing."

It's true, when the judges are off camera they frequently jab at each other as the singers do their thing.

Simon told TMZ he was shocked when he saw what went down: "When I watched the show back, I was horrified."

361 COMMENTS

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31.

Meowch    

There are things I observed last night that now have me questioning his behavior. Didn't all register til reading some of the comments here. Why did he need to jump in with his own shout out to VT- whose name he could not even remember.Didn't refer to them by name and you could see him struggling to think of the name but couldn't come up with it. And you could also see that he jumped in with the comment at a time that was random. Someone must have told him-you need to say something, uhhh now-because the rolling eyes for whatever reason did not look good on camera and could be misunderstood.Someone saw that and clued Simon in then, not when he "watched the show back." And GO HOKIES!

2694 days ago
32.

Rick    

Come on TMZ. Don't try to make it a huge thing. It was obvious this was the reaction to the "nazzle" thing. Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill. That's how things get running and out of control STOP!!!
Did you forget to mention that the 3 judges joined together in their comment about the incident? Never mentioned that did you... would not have made the story what it was would it?

2694 days ago
33.

Malynda    

First of all, IF Simon did roll his eyes about the V.T. tragedy, it was at most insensitive. Nothing more, nothing less. And secondly, If he didn't roll his eyes at Chris' comments would all of those on here that are bitching about him give HIM an appology? Doubt it.
I think Simon has a personality trait that tends to offend some people ( mainly those that don't like to hear the truth), but I really respect anyone who can be as honest as he is and tell it like it is.
I truly don't think he was rolling his eyes about the V.T. comment. I think he's just frustrated by the lack of talent this season ( as I am as well). There have been many times during the show when I have seen the judges not being able to hear the contestants because of the audience noise behind them. The contestants are wired with a live feed to the sound producers, so even though we can clearly hear everything, the judges and audience can't.
Get off your soap box now and stop whining.

2694 days ago
34.

gingergirl    

There wouldn't be an American Idol, without Simon. He tells it, like it is.
Sanjaya, is a very sweet young man, at least he comes across that way. I, totally agree with Simon. As for rolling his eyes, anyone can see that he was reacting to Chris's explanation why he sang nasally. If anything, it seemed like Chris, changed the subject by switching to the V-Tech tragedy. What is it with these wannabe's? They should appreciate the chance they have been given. Which, if they had to do it on their own, could never happen. They should shut up and concentrate on trying to sing. The main reason I, watch A.I. Is because of Simon.

2694 days ago
35.

CTinSF    

Simon has demonstrated himself to be an abusive, arrogant, pompous ass - and now we can add irresponsible and insensitive. He makes his money through humiliation of others (and those who watch that show endorse it). For anyone to think he cares about anything or anyone but himself is delusional. Simon is a loathsome specimen of humanity. Unfortunately the rest of us are propping him and those like him up. His reaction does not surprise me at all.

2694 days ago
36.

Janeanne    

I think Simon was rolling his eyes as Chris' so called explanation of his "nasaly" performance, and Chris threw the VT comment in so fast that he didn't actually hear it right away. Chris and Sanjaya both need to go and let the competition actually begin.

2694 days ago
37.

Jake Spidermonkey    

Simon is lying. He clearly rolled his eyes after hearing Chris make the comment. This has happened before (at least once earlier this season, in fact) when contestants have given a "shout out" at the end of the critique session. Simon has said before that he thinks that contestants try to gain sympathy by doing this, attempting to curry emotional favor in the voting. Simon was visbly awkward when he tried to make up for the eye-roll during his closing comment to Chris, as though having been forced to back pedal.

2694 days ago
38.

Kim    

Sometimes the truth hurts..that's life! Simon doesn't candy coat anything and I respect him for that. I happen to agree with almost every comment he makes about and to the contestants. Chris sounds terrible and should not be where he is...he can't sing and he's not even that great loooking..I mean give me a break!
He's a nice kid. cut him loose and let him find a day time job. He's not gonna go anywhere with the singing. Sanfagya can't sing or dance. The rest of the contestants are decent enough to be where they are.
But I have come to realize that AI is a popularity contest, so may the most popular win.

2694 days ago
39.

brewstie    

Simon has done this before. He called a contestant out for wishing a happy birthday to his grandmother even going so far as to snark "I want to wish a happy birthday to my girlfriend in November too".

I normally like Simon but in this case he was rolling his eyes at his feeling that Chris was using the VT incident to garner sympathy votes. That is the truth.

BTW, I do think Chris' thoughts about his nasally voice were stupid but I totally thought his thoughts regarding the VT tragedy were totally sincere. He even asked Ryan for permission to say something before he said it.

2694 days ago
40.

VKT    

Simon's eyeroll came in over :06 after Chris' nasal rational and if you look at the 2-shot of Simon and Paula, Paula is nodding at Chris and Simon is not engaged in conversation with anyone. The TD was going for the reaction shot of Paula and I don't think anyone in the booth expected Simon to eyeroll.
To be fair, I can see where Chris' remarks about VT could be perceived by Simon as pandering for votes. So, I think his non-verbal was directed at Chris not at the VT tragedy.
Finally, Simon's offer of condolences was a CYA and he was probably told he needed to do it.

2694 days ago
41.

Kathy    

To #3 (j), if you are so tired of AI switch the channel and stay off sites that cover the show and the people involved! To #11 (Mandy), come on, you and some others are making a mountain out of a molehill. Simon was reacting to Chris's ridiculous comment that nasal is a singing style! Chris was lousy last night. Everybody quit attacking Simon because he's truthful about these performances. It is a TALENT competition and anyone who doesn't want constructive criticism should remove themselves. Unfortunately, the viewers tend to turn it into a popularity contest.

2694 days ago
42.

Lori    

I saw the incident as it happened and had thought that Simon was
rolling his eyes as if he thought Chris was making the statement to
get sympathy votes and thought Simon looked like a real jerk, until I
read Simon's explanation -some may or may not think Simon is being
truthful, but I tend to give most folks benefit of the doubt so would
think he is sincere.

Born and raised Harrisonburg VA, I have no doubt
Chris does indeed have a lot of friends at VA tech, saw the
tears in his eyes, and know his wishes were sincere. It would be
hard to find anyone in VA who does NOT know someone who is going to
Virginia Tech or whose son/daughter is going to VA Tech even in the rural counties and smallest towns. Virginia has several great schools and many Virginians prefer to close to home,which is beautiful by the way, and head for VA Tech,
UVA , Radford and some to JMU.

There were at least 2 kids from my
home town Harrisonburg who were shot but thankfully will live. The
entire state is in mourning right now.

On a bit lighter note, I do wish Chris would get over his love of R&B
and discover a passion for bluegrass. He may not realize it, but as
the (sadly untalented) offspring of a long line of bluegrass
pickers/singers (who were talented) that is the voice he has been
given and he wouldn't have to sing through his nose! He probably
wouldn't get too far on AI as I suppose as a lot of people are not
familiar with or fans of the bluegrass music, but he would do great
on CMT!

2694 days ago
43.

chrisisa whiner    

seemed like chris was jumping to a shout out to get away from criticism. I think simon was reacting to his grandstanding not his condolence. Chris should be embarresed, it wasn't his place or show to do it. He should sing,if he can and leave the editorial to the producers. I agree'd with Simon's reaction

2694 days ago
44.

Angela    

Simon was not rolling his eyes at the tragedy that occurred, rather, he was rolling them at the performer for using that as a tag line! This was a tragedy that everyone should have wanted to say "you are in my prayers," it should not have been broached by an individual, to me this was very, very tacky! I may not know Simon personally, but I bet you that this was what the eye-rolling was about!

2694 days ago
45.

Janeanne    

I didn't take it as rolling his eyes about the VT comment, only about the excuse for his performance. Simon is not a bad guy and I will never believe he did that in response to the VT comment.

2694 days ago
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