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Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell are never stingy with their opinions on American Idol. But words are cheap, and for businessmen like Randy and Simon, it’s the bucks that count in show biz.

So whatever he might say on the show, we can be sure we heard Randy’s true feelings when he told Larry King that he would sign Bottom Three regular Kristy Lee Cook — but wouldn’t give a contract to front runner Jason Castro.

Although Randy has been luke warm about most of Kristy’s performances, he thought he spotted her chart potential early on after her performance of Faithfully in the third week. "It could be a big single in country," he told her at the time.

But the viewers don’t seem to see her mass appeal quite like Randy does, and she’s finished in the Bottom Three three out of a possible seven times — more than anyone else this season.

Meanwhile, Jason Castro has yet to find himself in danger of elimination at the end of a show and is regularly named as a possible winner.

So viewers were in for a shock when the judges appeared on the Larry King Live show yesterday.

During a run-down of this year’s contestants, Randy said of Kristy: "I don’t think she’ll win, but I think she definitely could have a recording contract somewhere down the road. She’s a good country girl."

But when Larry asked him if he’d give Jason a contract, Randy (to Simon’s genuine and obvious surprise) said: "I wouldn’t, but I would sign Kristy Lee Cook."

Evidently after all those years in the business, Randy thinks he knows something the voters don’t.

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