LOS ANGELES (AP) — Simon Cowell believes a woman is likely to win his final season on "American Idol."
The acerbic British judge told a teleconference Thursday he thinks one of the 12 women among the ninth season's 24 semifinalists has a good shot to win the Fox singing contest.
"We've had a few years of guys winning the show, and I would say there is definitely a better chance of a girl winning the show this year, certainly, than last year," Cowell said.
Whatever the gender, Cowell, who will leave at the end of the season to executive produce and judge an American edition of "The X Factor," just wants to crown someone relevant.
"I'd love to find a Taylor Swift," he said.
Lady Gaga is his top pick for a potential music industry mentor to guide this season's contestants, which include platinum-haired crooner Lilly Scott and throwback rocker Tyler Grady. Cowell called the outrageous Lady Gaga the "most relevant pop artist in the world right now."
Past mentors have included Gwen Stefani, Dolly Parton, Jamie Foxx and Quentin Tarantino.
As far as his replacement goes, Cowell said a couple of folks have already asked him for his gig, but they were both "boring." He insisted the right candidates must have music industry experience and "know what they are talking about."
Does that mean newcomer Ellen DeGeneres, the talk show host with no formal music training, didn't belong on the judging panel?
"She's been an artist," he retorted. "It wasn't meant to diss her credentials."