Jordin Sparks at age seventeen won "American Idol" and the $1 million record deal but if you ask Simon Cowell, as ABC News did, he believed the third runner up Melinda Doolittle should have won the title.
"I said Melinda should've won," he said to ABC. "She tried the hardest, was consistently the best, and had the best voice...I think about it now, whether I should've endorsed her as much as I should've done," he said. "I think it was the right thing to do."
Jordin Sparks win over Blake Lewis was no surprise, after the Doolittle elimination:
"Jordin was the most improved over the whole season -- didn't start the best, but midway through this was the girl who suddenly got momentum," Cowell said of Wednesday night's winner. "Young girl, likeable, and the singer won over the entertainer [Lewis]."
In an interview with ABC news, Cowell shared his thoughts on past Idol winners:
"We got so lucky with Kelly Clarkson -- season one -- because she's not just a great 'American Idol' winner. She's up there now with some of the great singers in the world," he said. "I mean, I think she's as good as someone like Celine Dion. I think she really is that good."
The Sanjaya flap aside, Cowell was most angry with the camera catching hi roll his eyes when the Virginia Tech students were mentioned, misconstrued as indifference.
"Just thinking about it now makes me very, very angry," he said to ABC.
"American Idol" went so far as to broadcast unaired footage showing that Cowell didn't hear the tribute remark because he was talking to Paula Abdul.
Cowell told ABC he is stopped regularly by people testing their "Idol-ability."
"They don't want to be critiqued in a good way, funny enough. I mean, if someone does sing to me I always go, 'Wonderful. Fantastic,' and then they're disappointed," he said. "They actually want me to be, to be rude to them. & I don't know what it is. It's like, sort of, a badge of honor, I guess, you know."
ABC even asked if Cowell had any advice or comments regarding the troubled Britney Spears.
"Only Britney can save her career. Britney is still one of the most talked about pop stars on the planet. She has the X factor, people want to write about her, and she's not conventional, and she's not normal. She can't handle the tension and the pressure," he said. "My advice to her six months ago was to go home to your family, lock the door, don't go out with your stupid friends, have some home-cooked food. Get a sense of reality. Go and lie in the garden, OK?"
"And then say to yourself there's more good in my life than bad. I'm still a rich, talented girl and now I want to get my career back on track. End of story."