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Cowell: Noel could replace me

Simon Cowell has said Oasis star Noel Gallagher could take over his judging seat on American Idol - if US viewers can understand his Manchester accent.

The TV and pop mogul was quizzed about his replacement on the hit series when he leaves this year to launch an American edition of The X Factor.

Asked whether proud Mancunian Noel would be suitable, Cowell said: "Do you think people would understand him?"

He added: "I know Noel quite well. I like him. He is very funny and a brilliant songwriter - it's a possibility."

Gallagher could have more time on his hands after quitting Oasis last year following a row with his younger brother and lead singer Liam.

Cowell - who is said to be in love with new girlfriend Mezhgan Hussainy - said there was "no shortage" of candidates to replace him on American Idol, which is in its ninth series and draws more than 18 million viewers stateside. Other people linked with the role include US shock-jock Howard Stern and British music producer Steve Lillywhite.

But Cowell, 50, warned the demands of the job would probably rule out stars with established careers. Citing the suitability of someone such as Madonna, he said: "It will never happen. You have got to give a massive, massive time commitment. You have got to find people who are prepared to give that much time."

Gallagher has previously criticised Cowell's X Factor programme, saying it was not about the music but rather "who's got the biggest sob story".

He is playing his first solo concerts since quitting Oasis at the Royal Albert Hall on March 25 and 26.

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