Only days after Clay Aiken‘s heartfelt confessions on Good Morning America that he suffers from anxiety problems and loses sleep over the media’s coverage of his personal life, his former nemesis, American Idol bad-boy judge Simon Cowell, was showing no mercy. ‘Give me a break, idiot!’ the ornery Brit scowled at a press conference for the upcoming season of the hugely successful Fox show. ‘Let me have a choice: I’m going to work in a coal mine for 14 hours a day or I’m going to be a runner-up on American Idol.’ And even as his fellow Idol judge, the always chipper Paula Abdul, tried to shush him, Simon plowed forward with his rant against Clay. ‘At the end of the day, no one is dragging these people onto the show? Whatever [Clay] might have said, he would not swap what he has now for what he had three years ago. This is a competition that if you do well, you’re going to become famous. If you don’t like it, do something else.’

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