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IDOL: Teen Idol Contestant Holds Her Own With Simon

May 6 2009, Published 10:57 a.m. ET

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Simon Cowell's soft side, evidenced by his recent endorsements of underdogs Susan Boyle and Jamie Pugh, took a rest Tuesday, as the snarky Brit grilled 17-year-old American Idol contestant Allison Iraheta -- who was quick to retort.

The exchange made for an amusing conflict reminiscent of a father arguing with his rebellious teen daughter.

Cowell said that while he enjoyed the overall performance of Janice Joplin's Cry Baby, he thought the teen was trying to hard to mimic the actual song. Iraheta told him that she carefully chose the song over based on the fact it hadn't been done on the show before and had a higher ceiling in terms of performance potential.

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"Allison, at this point just beg," Cowell said, smugly.

The teen squaked back: "You're always saying I don't talk enough, so maybe I should just talk a lot!"

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