Simon Accuses Fellow Judges of Mimicry

updated 12/22/2003 at 12:00 AM EST

originally published 12/22/2003 3:33PM

So much for peace on earth, goodwill toward men.

"American Idol" judge Simon Cowell claims there is more than one heated rivalry going on at the "World Idol" contest to decide the globe's top pop singer. The second one, he says, is the battle between the judges, reports PEOPLE.

Cowell, speaking after the London taping of the show that airs on Dec. 25, believes that many of the 11 judges are trying to mimic him and his acid tongue.

"There are two competitions going on -- one between the idols, but you have also got one between the judges," says Cowell, 44. "Some of them have based themselves on my character. They think it is cool to be me."

He particularly singled out Canadian judge Zack Werner, whom Cowell claims is "just a failed artist trying to make a name for himself," and Polish judge Kuba Wojewodzski.

Cowell was bemused at the manner in which Wojewodzski had criticized British hopeful (and multimillion-selling singer) Will Young. After Young, 24, sang the Doors' classic "Light My Fire," Wojewodzski called the performance, "Mr. Bean singing Jim Morrison."

This prompted Cowell to blare out, "Listen to someone from Poland who couldn't judge a tap-dancing competition tearing into him -- ridiculous."

Cowell also believes that there could be a shock when the winner is revealed in a second show on Jan. 1. He thinks Australian Guy Sebastian, 22, or gap-toothed plumber-turned-singer, Kurt Nilsen, 24, from Norway (and who sings U2's "Beautiful Day") stand a great chance -- because audiences love a longshot.

"The trend in this competition is for the underdog to win," said Cowell (who admits he felt "quite an attachment" to Kelly Clarkson and Young at the showcase). "Therefore, someone might win for possibly the wrong reasons."

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