Tony Bennett thinks American Idol is too cruel - and said so to celebrity judge Simon Cowell.

Speaking to the British edition of Time Out Magazine, the 80-year-old crooner says his recent appearance on the popular TV talent contest left him dismayed at its treatment of contestants.

"I had it out with Simon [Cowell] when I met him and suggested that he should open up tiny clubs across the countries so the kids could break in and learn properly," he said.

Bennett says Cowell shrugged off his suggestion, saying he was too busy making money.