This season will be Simon Cowell's last as judge on Fox's smash-hit American Idol. The caustic Brit everyone loves to hate is stepping down to bring his show X Factor to American audiences next year. Some say he’s brought diverse audiences together and made us all critics; others argue he has produced few real pop stars in America while popularizing a schmaltzy brand of music. Today: A Soundcheck Smackdown debate on Simon Cowell.
Joining us is Ann Powers, pop music critic of the Los Angeles Times; and Will Friedwald, New York-based jazz critic and author. Also: a look back at Cowell's legacy with Robert Thompson, Professor of Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University.
Weigh in: What's your opinion of Simon Cowell?