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Cowell tells Curly he’ll be a ‘star’

Chris Sligh downplays report he didn't want to be “American Idol” winner.
/ Source: TODAY

Booted "American Idol" contestant Chris Sligh says judge Simon Cowell gave him a warm sendoff backstage last week, despite the cutting remark he made in front of millions when it was announced the curly-haired singer had been voted off the reality TV show.

“After he said his little ‘bye bye Curly’ comment, he came back stage and said the last few weeks I had kind of lost my sparkle,” Sligh, an early favorite to go far in the hugely popular amateur talent contest, said during an appearance Tuesday on TODAY. “[Cowell said] to get my sparkle back because he thought I was going to be a star.”

Sligh downplayed reports he considered dropping out of the ‘Idol’ contest a few weeks ago. Media reports said he asked producers of the hit FOX program about participating in the show’s summer tour. Sligh was quoted saying that he wanted to go on the tour for the top 10 contestants, but he was concerned that winning “American Idol” could end up hurting a career he has been trying to build for himself around alternative rock.

“I think it was a little bit of a misunderstanding. What I was trying to say was that I never set my sights on winning it,” Sligh, 28, told TODAY. “When you are thinking about number one when there are 24 people, you are going to drive yourself nuts. As far as the whole dropping out thing, it was one of those moments where it was like, ‘I can't take this anymore.’ And 30 minutes later you are OK.”

Sanjaya has a fantastic voiceSligh wasn’t asked about whom he expects to be the winner on the sixth season of “Idol,” but he defended fan-favorite Sanjaya Malakar from suggestions by the judges and others that viewers are retaining him for his teen-idol looks — and not his talent.

“Sanjaya is a really good kid. He really does have a fantastic voice when you hear it in the studio,” Sligh said. “I think at 17 years old, there are really very few people who know how to sing great live in a situation like that.”— John Springer, contributor, and news reports