Showing the contestants on the upcoming ''World Idol'' how to be a world idol will be Elton John. Producers of the international talent contest announced that the venerable rocker will perform during the show's finale, which is airing in two parts on Fox, on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. He'll play for the 11 winners of ''Idol'' shows from around the globe (including America's Kelly Clarkson) who are competing for the top prize, as well as for a potentially enormous worldwide audience.
''We are thrilled that Sir Elton John is to perform on 'World Idol,''' executive producer Richard Holloway said in a statement. ''Sir Elton is without a doubt one of the greatest international recording artists of all time and I am sure he is an 'Idol' and inspiration to many of those contestants participating in the show.''
Only last month, John had some harsh words for the ''Idol'' phenomenon, criticizing it in a British TV interview for contributing to the music industry's tendency to emphasize marketing over songwriting. ''These days, it's all about the packaging aspect of it. The songwriting aspect has gone out the window a little bit,'' he said. Of ''Idol'' judge-producer-record mogul Simon Cowell, John said: ''I'm on the side of the artist. I'm not on the side of someone like Simon Cowell who sees them as another Mercedes Benz. He has no love for [British ''Idol''-minted stars] Will Young or Gareth Gates. He's raking the money in. When someone else comes along in two years he'll replace them. It's kinda cruel. I feel for them. They're being used by people who are making a fortune.''