AMERICAN IDOL SNOB: U.S. GIRLS ARE GREAT -- AND I'M AVAILABLE!

Published on: July 25, 2002

The most hated man on TV is looking for love!

Sharp-tongued Simon Cowell -- the British record exec who skins contestants alive as a judge on "American Idol" -- tells The ENQUIRER that he wants to be someone's little cuddly bear.

"I'm both single and available," beamed 42-year-old Cowell in an exclusive interview.

Just recently the BMG Records executive publicly lashed out at fellow "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul -- accusing her of being on the show just to bag a man.

"I think she's just looking for a date," he sniped in a snit.

Despite his hard-as-nails reputation, Simon tells The ENQUIRER he's a big hit with the beautiful babes in Hollywood.

"I'm like a kid in a candy store here!" he admits. "It's a great place to live. I've gotten a nice tan here -- as opposed to England, where I'd be gray.

"I've thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it."

Cowell also starred on the British version of the show, called "Pop Idol" -- and his harsh judgments quickly made him America's most hated Brit since King George III.

Still, his caustic wit attracts fan mail -- from both men and women. But Simon makes it clear he prefers the fair sex.

"Fans have approached me, hoping to make a 'love connection' of some sort.

"They come up to me on the street, talk to me, give me their phone number -- try to pick me up.

"Nothing's become of it . . . yet."

Surprisingly, the cranky critic is all thumbs up when it comes to American female singers.

"The girls here are absolutely sensational!

"The ones in our competition in the U.K., if they ever watch this, are going to say, 'Crissakes, we have to raise our game here.' "

Not-so-simple Simon says he hates being likened to another hard-edged Brit -- Anne Robinson of "Weakest Link" fame.

"It bothers me to be compared to her because, number one, I don't like her.

"Number two, she came over here with an act.

"On 'American Idol,' we're not given any lines. It's not scripted. I'm not told what I can and cannot say. Anne Robinson's is a rehearsed act -- this is reality."

Is catty Cowell aware some viewers have branded him "Osimon Bin Laden"?

He laughs and says, "Well, that's a new one on me!

"I'm not in this business to worry about people's feelings. I'm in this business to find the best possible talent -- period!"