Music mogul Simon Cowell has sensationally claimed he "fixed" Britain's POP IDOL programme so Michelle McManus would win.

Cowell claims his constant support throughout the series caused 95 kilogram (15 stone) McManus to win the coveted title, even though he knew she would not prove a long-term success.

The sharp tongued critic said in a TV interview, "She's not a pop idol in the old fashioned sense, though maybe times are changing."

However, he added, "I thought she should win anyway."

When McManus was announced as the winner of the massively popular show last year (03) Cowell's fellow judge PETE WATERMAN stormed out of the studio in protest, and although the Scottish singer's debut single went straight to number one, her album has flopped in the British charts.

02/03/2004 18:01