Simon Cowell expresses misgivings over the early ejection of one of AI 2008’s lightning rods
By Jeffrey Jolson
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 2/23/08 – “American Idol” host Simon Cowell said that Josiah Leming, the weepy young hopeful who quickly became a lightning rod for the media and AI fans should probably not have been kept out of the 12 final male contestants.
Idol had built Leming, who cried a lot and sang with a British accent, into most every audition show, with a heart-wrenching back story that included a mother with cancer and living out of his car in order to live out his dream.
Hollywood Today caught up with Cowell and co-judge Randy Jackson at a Playboy Mansion party for Hotel Byblos, a St. Tropez resort and nightclub hotspot currently doing a promotional soiree tour for its 40th Anniversary. He didn’t want to do an interview at the social occasion but he did tell our reporter that he had misgivings about Josiah getting the boot after the audition phase. “We should have let him go through. It was not my decision and I don’t think we should have had him leave so early.”
The media wanted him to stay as well, and Leming got interview request immediately. He appeared on MTV news and then on the Ellen DeGeneres show among others.
He told MTV He has no regrets about any of the choices he made on “American Idol,” not even his critically drubbed take on Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” that got him booted from the show. “There’s a small window of opportunity, and I don’t want to do it too quick or too slow,” he said. “I’ve always been aware of the fact that one day you can be everything, and the next day you can be nothing. It’s sitting in the back of my mind that I could just be another flash in the pan.”
Back to the party, which was quite flashy by design. Hotel Byblos is a posh resort with plenty of stars staying at its St. Tropez location on the French Riviera, not too far from other jet-set destinations Cannes and Monte Carlo. It has a hot nightclub, Les Caves du Roy, which it re-created for the evening at the Playboy Mansion, inviting VIPs to dance away the night in a giant tent, given the rain that evening. It is touring other cities with this concept as well and culminates with a 40th birthday party back in Saint Tropez this summer.
Hef and his girls from “Girls Next Door” were on hand in addition to the Idol judges and with the lushly tropical ambiance on the Mansion’s famed grotto and pool, it was a fitting celebration spot, though might have been more so if only the weather matched the balmy tanning sun of Saint Tropez. Guess we’ll just have to go there to find out after the Cannes Film Festival in May.