Pharrell Dishes On Turning Down 'American Idol' & Original 'Happy' Singer

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Pharrell Williams is ready to bring his music industry expertise to The Voice for the show's seventh installment this fall. He's done it all already: produced, engineered, written, performed. The next logical step is as a mentor for younger, fresher talent. But before he officially signed on for the spinning red chair, he was courted by the singing competition institution known as American Idol, a family-oriented staple that has churned out some of the most influential stars to-date (see: Carrie Underwood was recently recognized as one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential of the year).

During an appearance on The Howard Stern Show on Tuesday (April 29), the "Happy" singer was pretty upfront about why he chose to turn down Idol"They interviewed me, but I think turned them off pretty quickly," he told host Howard Stern of almost joining the panel in 2012. 

He added, "Not to sling mud, because Ryan [Seacrest] has been very kind to me, but a lot of the philosophy behind the show, I just didn't get. Because I saw a lot of people not make it on the show, other people that did get on the show get voted off, and it just didn't feel right to me."

When broached on the subject of pop stars and fitting into molds, he stated, "Not everybody's gonna have blonde hair and blue eyes and be waif thin." He cites the diamond-selling superstar Adele as being the perfect example of how to take the world by storm and let the music do the talking.

The Voice, however, was far more appealing for Williams. He explained, on his decision to join, "I took the job because I saw it as a interesting platform--the advice that I could give some of the people on my team, I'm hoping could be useful to other people in TV land who are not necessarily on a television show, or maybe not even doing music. Maybe something that I may say may open the door or give someone else an epiphany to do something far greater than anything I ever could have done."

With the help of a little animated feature called Despicable Me 2, Williams has a hit on his hands that just won't go away. "Happy" has become a worldwide smash, which is included on his newly-released G I R L. But did you know: Cee Lo Green originally recorded it. Of course, the powers that be had the final say. He details that, too, "[They] did not see it fit for him, and there was a much bigger agenda for him, he had bigger fish to fry, he had an album to put out..."

"He wanted to do it, but I think some folks on his team just felt that the priority should've been on his album at the time, and so they elected not to do that song and went with another one instead."

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