Simon Cowell's got Beyonce, Britney on his mind

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- As Simon Cowell describes it, adding a second female judge to "American Idol" has brought a battle-of-the-sexes edge to the new season. Asked about a producer's comment that newcomer Kara DioGuardi and series veteran Paula Abdul are teaming up against him, Cowell replied: "What guy would like that? You've got two girls ganging up on you. One is hard enough; two is unbearable."

But with Randy Jackson at his side, Cowell told a teleconference Wednesday, "it's not that bad."

Cowell said he values the proven chemistry he has with Jackson and Abdul, but that singer-songwriter DioGuardi is a qualified judge and, what is more important, has strong opinions that she's willing to express.

He's taking a wait-and-see attitude about the revamped team. The show returns for its eighth season Jan. 13.

When it comes to celebrities he'd like to welcome on "Idol," Cowell said his wish list includes Paul McCartney, Beyonce and Britney Spears. McCartney has so far refused to appear on "American Idol," but Spears and Beyonce took part in Cowell's British talent show, "X Factor." Spears tops his list for "Idol," Cowell said.

He strongly defended the show's producers against complaints by Abdul that they exposed her to danger by letting an alleged stalker audition in a past season. The woman, Paula Goodspeed, was found dead of apparent suicide in a car near Abdul's Los Angeles home last month.

He took issue with descriptions of Goodspeed as a stalker rather than a fan, saying, "We're talking about a tragedy here." It was one Cowell found to be painful.

The show's producers have "the utmost integrity as human beings," Cowell said, and he believes they were unaware of how troubled Goodspeed was.

"American Idol" conducts an open audition process and doesn't research the many people who try out, said Cowell, adding that he does try to remind prospective contestants that they face criticism as part of the process. The show is not "inherently mean" but is about making dreams come true.

On Monday, series executive producer Ken Warwick said, "I would definitely not put a dangerous person or person I thought was remotely dangerous in front of the judges."

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