01/15/2010 at 12:00 AM EST
In an appearance taped for an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show
set to air Tuesday, Adam Lambert
spoke about the week's big American Idol
news -- Simon Cowell
that this season, which kicked off Tuesday
, will be his last.
"The audience will definitely miss Simon," Lambert, 27, says. "The contestants will miss out on, like, really honest criticism. Sometimes it can be a little personal, and I know other contestants took it to heart sometimes and got really stressed out about what he would say. But I think that that's important to making you a better performer ... You've got to hear the good and the bad."
But American Idol
can survive without Cowell, according to Lambert, because the show isn't about the cheeky British judge. "Ultimately, after the first couple weeks of auditions, the audience tunes in every week for the contestants," says Lambert, who performs his current song, "Whataya Want From Me," on Oprah
. "Audiences grow fond of one or a couple of the and they get behind them and they're invested in them. And of course it's great to hear ... what's Simon going to say. But we tune in to hear the contestants blossom or not." --Joe Bargmann
George Burns/Harpo, Inc.