'Idol' Insider: Simon Reveals His Early Favorites
March 16, 2006

Every season of "American Idol" is full of surprises, and more than 30 million fans saw just that Wednesday night as frontrunner Ace Young was voted in the bottom three.

The wide-eyed lady killer found himself facing elimination with Lisa and Melissa. But it was Melissa, one of the judges' favorites, who became the first of the top 12 to be voted off the "Idol" stage.

"American Idol's" Simon Cowell came to "Extra" to warn voters everywhere: "You've got to be very careful because a show like this will turn into a popularity competition, rather than a talent competition."

So which singers have talent? Simon revealed that Ace is still one of his favorites. But could the young heartthrob's good looks actually hurt him in the competition?

"It's never been a problem for me, funny enough," Cowell said. "You deal with that. First of all, you think it's a burden and then you go, 'No, I can use it as an asset.'"

Speaking of looks, one thing is certain: Kellie Picker's look sure has changed. Entertainment Web site TMZ.com obtained some shots from Kellie's high school yearbook, and even tough old Simon got a soft spot for the North Carolina cutie.

"I think America has fallen in love with Kellie Picker," Simon said.

Kellie and the rest of the remaining "Idols" will be back for 50's night, next Tuesday on FOX.

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