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Simon Cowell is a record producer and television personality known for his scathing critical remarks as a judge on the television show, American Idol.
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In 2011, Cowell helped import his hit British series The X Factor to America. The show is a talent search that awards a $5 million recording contract to the winner. Cowell even gave up his judging duties on American Idol to sit front and center at The X Factor auditions. Television viewers loved this competition, which proved to be a success in the ratings. Cowell's fellow judges included legendary recording executive L.A. Reid,
The X Factor kicked off its second season in September 2012 with a few line-up changes. Pop star Britney Spears and actress-singer Demi Lovato joined the show as judges, replacing Abdul and Scherzinger. For the third season, the series made yet another change to the members of the judges panel, replacing Reid and Spears for Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio. Mario Lopez also stepped in as the primary host for the show after co-hosting with Khloe Kardashian during the second season.
In 2004, Entertainment Weekly named Simon Cowell as one of the Top Entertainers of the Year. In 2006, he renewed his contract with American Idol for five more seasons; the deal gave him a yearly salary of $40 million. That same year, he was named Variety's UK Personality of the Year.
In 2007, Cowell earned the No. 3 slot on the Forbes TV Faces List, and No. 21 on Forbes' Celebrity 100 Power List. He also created an American Idol spin-off, Idol Gives Back, a two-episode special that helped to provide aid to children in Africa and the American poor. The show raised $76 million for charity.
Since his time on American Idol, Cowell has been romantically linked to several women in public relationships. Rumors began to swirl after Cowell was seen flirting with his Idol co-host Paula Abdul that the two were an item. However, both celebrities confirmed that they were merely friends, despite their chemistry on camera.
In early 2010, Cowell announced that he was engaged to Idol makeup artist Mezghan Hussainy. The couple broke off their engagement in 2012, with Cowell saying, "We came to the conclusion that I'm a hopeless boyfriend." He also reportedly gave Hussainy a £5million mansion in Beverly Hills as a parting gift. In December of the same year, Cowell confirmed that he was dating actress and model Carmen Electra. The relationship only lasted a few months, with Cowell confirming that the two had separated in early 2013.
In 2009, Cowell revealed that he had no intention of having children, stating, "With kids, you've got a routine you can't escape from. You've got to be up at a certain time, got to listen, when all you want to do is sit in a corner thinking." His position on kids softened three years later during an interview with AOL in 2012, during which he stated "I do really, really like kids, because I can talk to them and listen to them. The problem has always been how much time you need to devote to bringing up kids.
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In the early days of the music industry, only a combination of hard work and luck could get musicians a recording contract—and even then, success was limited by the scope of a radio or record distribution deal. But thanks to the reality TV phenomenon, even an appearance on the American Idol competition can make you an instant superstar. Here are some of the show's most famous competitors and judges.
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After the Britpop music scene of the early 90's, a new genre of celebrities stepped into the London spotlight from athletic superstars such as David Beckham to pop culture phenomenons like Simon Cowell and Susan Boyle. Alternative rock acts like Elastica and Oasis were replaced with soulful songstresses like Amy Whinehouse and Adele, and actors like Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley and Robert Pattinson became international superstars. The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton also became a royal, social and fashion icon, as well as a defining figure of the decade. Biography celebrates these cultural icons of the new post-Britpop era.
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