02/08/2005 at 08:00 AM EST
Never one for holding his tongue, Simon Cowell is already declaring his intentions when it comes to his favorite for the fourth American Idol crown.
Monday on Live with Regis & Kelly, Cowell told his interviewers that he had his eye on one performer in particular. "She's like a country singer, a blond girl," he said.
While Cowell didn't name her, the New York Post speculates that it's Carrie Underwood, a 21-year-old singer from Oklahoma who auditioned for the show at its St. Louis tryouts. Underwood sang the Bonnie Raitt hit "I Can't Make You Love Me," and was a standout among the judges, who pushed her through to the next round in Hollywood.
Cowell and judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul weren't the only ones to notice Underwood, however. The young singer has already lit up American Idol message boards and spawned her own Web fan club, the Post reports.
Simon also revealed a bit about the judges grueling days of screening contestants, when they would sit through nearly 100 Idol hopefuls. "By the time you hit 90 (performers), you've had it," he said.
He also said that the past Idol winners were recognizable from the start, giving some hope to his praise for Underwood. "There are one or two every year," Cowell said. "You're never going to find 50 great people. But if you can find two or three ?"
Nearly 200 contestants move on to the Hollywood competition, which begins Tuesday night.