Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Q: Tell us about the level of talent this year.
A: I think personally itâ€™s one of the strongest years weâ€™ve had in a long, long time. Itâ€™s younger. I think the talent is more current. Theyâ€™re more interesting people. So I go into this season a lot more optimistic than I went in certainly last year.
I mean, Paula and Randy went on the record last year saying the bar has been raised and all that nonsense and itâ€™s going to be one of the best years. I didnâ€™t go along with that. I didnâ€™t believe it. But I will go on record this year saying itâ€™s one of the strongest lineups weâ€™ve had.
Q: You made references to this yearâ€™s contestants being more interesting people. How is that the same or different than talented people and in the audition process how do you look for interesting as opposed to necessarily the talented?
A: I am making these comparisons to a lot of artists that you see on the Internet now who are kind of doing their own thing. And they have a certain quirkiness and they have their own style. Rather than just a ton of talented puppets for want of a better word. These people just look more current, sound more current.
Theyâ€™re definitely individuals. And I think three or four of the contestants weâ€™ve got this year all would get recording contracts without "Idol." I think theyâ€™re that good. It feels more fresh than Iâ€™ve seen before and definitely more memorable.
Q: Do you have an exit date in mind and can the show go on without you?
A: Nothing is gonna last forever. I think the exit date will be determined by the public, who eventually are going to get sick to death of you if they havenâ€™t already. I always in my mind thought Iâ€™d go up until the end of my contract, which would be two more seasons after this one. Nine years is probably enough to inflict on anyone.
Can the show exist without me? Absolutely. It would probably get better.