Sir Elton John has confirmed he turned down the chance to join the "American Idol" judging panel, because he finds the show "boring" and "brain crippling". The "Rocket Man" was said to have been among the front runners to take over a vacant seat following the departure of Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi.
The places were eventually handed to Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler and actress/singer Jennifer Lopez. John admits he was approached about the role, but refused to sign up because of his disdain for TV talent shows. He tells Britain's Radio Times magazine, "I'm not a fan of talent shows. I probably wouldn't have lasted if I'd gone on one."
"I was asked to judge American Idol. I couldn't do it because I won't slag (criticize) anyone off. Also I don't want to be on television. It's become boring, a**e-paralyzingly brain crippling." And the singer insists he fears for the young stars who emerge from shows like "American Idol", because they have such limited creative input in their own music.
He adds, "It's important they (pop stars) write their own songs so they're not at the mercy of anyone. Songwriters today are pretty awful, which is why everything sounds the same. TV vaults you to superstardom and then you have to back it up, which is hard. (They) are at the mercy of the next song they can get."
In the same interview, Elton John urged George Michael to emerge from his self-imposed isolation and kick his drug habit by socializing more with pals. The "Faith" hitmaker walked free from Highpoint Prison in Suffolk, England last week after serving 27 days of an eight-week sentence for possession of marijuana and driving under the influence of drugs, stemming from an incident in July.
Michael has in the past admitted to spending much of his time holed up at his north London mansion smoking dope all day - and the "Rocket Man" is adamant the former Wham! star needs to ditch his hermit-like existence if he is to turn his back on drugs.
He tells Britain's Radio Times, "I haven't got a thing against him. He's a huge talent. I love him, and what he does in his life is none of my business, but he should get out more. I helped Rufus Wainwright in 2002 when crystal meth addiction had turned him temporarily blind, my guitarist Davey Johnstone, who's now six months sober, and Eminem, two years sober. They all asked me."
"I had a great career, but I f**ked up my private life doing drugs. Once you give up drugs, as I did, you assume everyone else has, but it's more prevalent now than ever, and the drugs are particularly dangerous today."