TV Article

Hand Jive

Simon Cowell denies obscene ''Idol'' gesture. Cowell says he was just resting his head on his middle finger Tuesday night, not gesturing

Simon Cowell | 'IDOL' HANDS Cowell denies that he made an obscene finger gesture
Image credit: Simon Cowell: Dan Herrick-KPA/KEYSTONE Pictures/Newscom
'IDOL' HANDS Cowell denies that he made an obscene finger gesture

Is Simon Cowell's middle finger the new Janet Jackson's nipple? Probably not, but a few viewers of Tuesday night's ''American Idol'' complained to the FCC after they noticed Cowell holding his middle finger to the side of his face during a debate with Paula Abdul, according to Reuters. Cowell, who had quickly switched to his index finger, denied any meaning to the outstretched digit.

''I certainly would never make a gesture like that towards Paula or on national television,'' he said in a statement. ''Sometimes a different finger. Sometimes two at the same time, or God help me, even the whole hand. I never thought about it until now.'' Fox, meanwhile, told Reuters that its censors agreed with Cowell, seeing nothing obscene about his finger placement – they left the moment intact when the show aired on the West Coast. But don't be surprised if you see Simon in mittens next week.

Sign up for's American Idol Alerts!

Don't miss a story! We'll send you an alert when new American Idol content is added to the site.
Originally posted Mar 25, 2004

From Our Partners