Simon Cowell reportedly launched a blistering attack on past American Idol winners during a heated phone call with the reality TV show's executive producer CECILE FROT-COUTAZ.

The BMG RECORDS boss was overheard complaining that 2003 winner RUBEN STUDDARD and 2004 victor Fantasia Barrino were undeserving of their recording contracts, and warned Frot-Coutaz that this year's (05) contest will again be full of untalented wannabes.

An eavesdropper at Los Angeles' L'Ermitage Hotel tells gossip website PAGESIX.COM, "He said that there is very little talent in the pool of contestants that made it to the finals in Los Angeles.

"(Apart from a Missouri country and western singer) he said the rest were just a bunch of 'untalented Usher wannabes' and predicted the show would end up again with 'someone like Ruben or Fantasia' winning.

"He said Kelly Clarkson (2002 winner) was the only one with talent who ever won."

04/02/2005 09:42