Elton John described today's songwriters as "pretty awful," pop music as uninspiring and talent shows like "American Idol" as boring in an interview published on Tuesday (Oct. 19).

The 63-year-old singer of "Your Song" and "Candle in the Wind," one of the most successful pop artists of all time, added that the instant fame which talent shows can bring was not the way to become a genuine star.

"It's important they [pop stars] write their own songs, so they're not at the mercy of anyone," John, whose real name is Reginald Dwight, told Britain's Radio Times magazine. "Songwriters today are pretty awful, which is why everything sounds the same. Contemporary pop isn't very inspiring."

He said he was a fan of young female pop acts Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga, before adding: "I'm not a fan of talent shows. I probably wouldn't have lasted if I'd gone on one. I was asked to judge 'American Idol'. I couldn't do it because I won't slag anyone off.

"Also I don't want to be on television. It's become boring, arse-paralysingly brain crippling."

He said "X Factor" judge and music producer Simon Cowell had discovered some talented acts through his TV shows, "but the only way to sustain a career is to pay your dues in small... clubs.

"I was in a band at 17, became a songwriter with Bernie Taupin and wasn't successful until we'd had six years of hard graft and disappointment, as well as great times.

"TV vaults you to superstardom and then you have to back it up, which is hard. [British 'X Factor' winners] Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke are at the mercy of the next song they can get.

"['Britain's Got Talent' runner-up] Susan Boyle was an endearing phenomenon, but I fear she might not understand the rigors of showbusiness."

John is releasing a new album this week, "The Union," a collaboration with his musical hero Leon Russell, and plays the BBC Electric Proms in London on October 28.

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