Tamyra Gray: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

Simon laments Tamyra's ejection from ''Idol.'' He insists, however, that the voting was fair, and that she'll still have a music career

August 23, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

When it was announced that Tamyra Gray was voted off ”American Idol” during Wednesday’s episode, no one was more shocked than judge Simon Cowell. Or so he said during his moonlighting gig as an occasional correspondent on TV’s ”Extra.” Of her ouster, he said, ”It’s just wrong.”

“Honestly, Tamyra? Wrong. She shouldn’t have gone,” he said. ”How can you let a great singer like that leave a competition? Wrong.” However, he hinted, in a comment that echoed his ”Watch this space” remark on Wednesday’s show, that Tamyra would still get a record deal out of her ”Idol” appearances, despite being voted off. ”Is it going to affect her career? No.” Of course, all 10 of the finalists will be on a record orchestrated by the show’s creators, and it’s likely that several of them will go on to have records of their own, as the top finishers in last year’s ”Pop Idol” in England have done.

While there’s been much talk among fans over the producers’ acknowledgements that they reserve ultimate veto power over the voters, and that power-dialing hackers have been able to vote tens of thousands of times for their favorites, Cowell insisted he did not expect Tamyra to be voted off. That she didn’t last longer despite Simon’s openly expressed preference for her should only strengthen the producers’ contention that the voting is fair, Cowell said. ”Why she got booted I haven’t got a clue. People talk about conspiracy and rigging the competition. I’ll tell you this — this is the fairest competition there’s ever been…. The one thing is, when you put your hands into the fate of the public, it is unpredictable.”

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.
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