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May 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Tonight’s (Wednesday) season finale of American Idol will be watched not only to see who’s crowned this year’s winner — Crystal Bowersox or Lee DeWyze — but also to see what Simon Cowell has to say during his final appearance as the principal judge on the show. Asked to comment on Cowell’s departure, TV historian Tim Brooks (The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows) emailed the Associated Press: “His sarcastic — but knowledgeable — put-downs lifted the show from the traditional Star Search mold to something genuinely new on television, a talent show where not only was the competition fierce and the standards high but the judges were part of the entertainment.” [Brooks may have overlooked the early-50s talent showcase This Is Show Business, whose regular panelists included curmudgeonly playwright George S. Kaufman, who was famously fired by CBS for remarking at the beginning of a Christmas edition, “Let’s make this one program on which nobody sings “Silent Night.”) But while numerous critics weighed in with predictions that Idol would collapse without Cowell, Peter Rice, Fox Networks Group entertainment chairman, noted in an interview with the New York Times that the Idol format “works around the world” without Cowell’s presence.