POP Idol's Mr Nasty, Simon Cowell, has finally met his match after facing contestants on the US version of the hit ITV show.

"He's an ass, and he can kiss my natural-born black ass," blasted wannabe Tamika Bush following her rejection at the Los Angeles audition.

Fellow flop idol Stephanie Sugarman told Cowell: "You're deaf," after he said she was a poor singer. She then refused to leave the stage.

The British record executive is one of three judges on American Idol: The Search for a Superstar, which was screened for the first time on the Fox network this week.

But despite the feisty responses, Cowell has refused to tone down his acid tongue, which reduced many UK hopefuls to tears.

"You can't sing and you have no talent," he told one contestant. He warned another group: "This will be the audition from hell."

Cowell was joined on the judging panel by record producer Randy Jackson and singer Paula Abdul, who asked him: "Why do you have to be so rude?"

More than 10,000 hopefuls attended talent searches across America for the show, which is due to conclude in September.