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Cowell Quells Critics

Bet Rosie O'Donnell feels pretty foolish now that Simon Cowell has let that nice, if slightly odd, older guy sing "You Belong to Me" on "American Idol" just because the guy promised his cancer-stricken lady love he'd audition when the judges came to Los Angeles.

In a recent "The View" sermon, you'll recall, O'Donnell excoriated Simon for his treatment of delusional "Idol" wannabe auditioners, calling his behavior cruel. The press jumped on the story and feasted for days.

Back to 60-something Sherman Pore, who told Simon and his colleagues Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson that while his girlfriend was in the cancer ward at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, he kept her spirits up by collecting signatures on a petition requesting he be allowed to audition. Pore, who is well over the show's 28-year age limit for contestants, he brought the petition signed by hundreds, to show the judges.

Pore's girlfriend -- you paying attention, Rosie? -- died two days before he got to sing on the show.

"I believe it helped her keep a positive attitude and it smoothed her passing and made it a little softer," Pore said, choking up.

Simon was clearly touched, as was Randy.

Paula, who was unnervingly lucid on both days of the Hollywood auditions, started to sniffle and wiped away tears. And while guest judge Olivia Newton-John couldn't actually tear up -- her ducts having been sealed when she got nipped, tucked and 'toxed into complete facial immobility -- she too seemed moved by the man's story and his lovely performance of "You Belong to Me":

See the pyramids along the Nile,
Watch the sunrise on a tropic isle,
Just remember darling, all the while,
You belong to me.

"You're a class act, Sherman," Simon said after the performance. "Let me shake your hand. Very nice to meet you."

As far as I'm concerned Simon can now be just as cruel and vicious as he likes to all the geeks and poseurs this competition attracts.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  February 1, 2007; 2:18 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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