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Regis Philbin Sweet on Idol's Jordin

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He’s getting back to work on Live with Regis and Kelly after undergoing triple bypass heart surgery. But in the six weeks that Regis Philbin had off to recover, the TV host had plenty of time to catch up on another hit series. He chatted with PEOPLE about Simon, Sanjaya and … “what’s his name.”

On watching Idol:
I began watching more TV than I usually do. And American Idol, that’s a slick show! They cover all their bases. They’ve got three great judges and then what’s his name, the emcee [Ryan Seacrest]? Very smooth.

On Sanjaya Malakar:
I got to like him! I did a song on my second album, “Cheek to Cheek.” And he did that, too, so I kind of admired the way he did it. He had a lot of savoir faire, strutting around the set, and he sang the song well. … By the time I got back, poor Sanjaya got voted off, but I thought he was a big addition to the show this year.

On ‘the big judge’:
He’s very smart, Simon. … It’s always fun to see how he has the guts to say what he’s going to say.

On his new favorite, Jordin Sparks:
She seems to have it all.

On voting:
You know, I never voted. I don’t know how that works. There’s [only] so much I can handle!