It's impossible to succeed without helping others.
I doubt if you could call Carrie Underwood, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudsond, or Kelly Clarkson - one hit wonders.
These artists have won many awards between them including Grammy, Oscar, and Country Music Awards...etc
It's probably unlikely many of these people would have ever made the splash they did had it not been for American Idol.
Susan Boyle of "Britian's Got talent" fame debut CD sold 7 Million copies! It remained #1 for six straight weeks.
Being "commercial" simply means an artists's work was accepted and purchased by the masses.
Whether they admit it or not all artists want that kind of success. No singer wants to spend his/her life perfoming in small dives, free Vegas lounges, County fairs, Cruise ships, and hole in the wall bars. Elvis, The Beattles, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen were all a "commercial success" in addition to winning awards.
There will always be people who feel it's hip or avant-garde to knock what the masses are buying for whatever reason. We see this in the business world as well. McDonald's, Walmart, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Ikea...etc The minute a company claims a large market share of it's business segment it becomes a target for those who hate "consistant winners". They say, "Everyone loves a winner but a lot of people hate consistant winners"
What separated "American Idol" from "Star Search" and other talent show predecessors is they focussed on just singing, they allowed the public to "vote" or have a say in who moves forward, and they continued to provide "back stories" on the contestants from the auditon phase until their exit. This provided an "emotional connection" between the audience and the contestants. American Idol has been the #1 show in America for almost 10 years.
Simon dared not to be PC. He was not afraid to tell someone they sucked. Audiences found his honesty to be refreshing.
Whether you love or hate Simon you can't dispute he was a genius!