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Simon Says: I Don't Listen to the Contestants

4/29/2007 3:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

While "American Idol" contestants are singing their hearts (and lungs) out every Tuesday night, there's something Simon Cowell isn't doing -- paying attention!

Cowell admits that instead of listening to the wannabe singers, most of the time he's trying to find ways to screw with Paula Abdul's head! Simon tells Ellen DeGeneres, "I'm taunting Paula throughout the performance ... I make things up about the song, hoping she'll say them, like, 'That was the theme song from "Star Wars," you should mention that.'" After watching Abdul's wacky appearance on QVC, it's easy to see how she might fall for something like that.

Simon's not totally making up his critiques during the show -- he pays attention during the dress run, when there's no audience screaming during the vocals.

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