Occupation: Talent-show creator and judge
Previous TIME 100 Appearances: 1
It speaks volumes about Cowell's global influence on popular culture that numerous other candidates for the 2010 TIME 100 (Susan Boyle, Cheryl Cole, Adam Lambert) owe their careers to the sardonic talent-show judge, hitmaker and media mogul. The creator of American Idol and America's Got Talent and equivalent shows in many other countries, Cowell revealed to Jay Leno that he once turned down dinner with President Obama: "Our diaries didn't quite match."
Next Cheryl Cole