May 20th, 2010
04:34 PM ET
When the boredom kicks in, Simon Cowell heads out.
The deceptively acerbic “American Idol” judge and super-producer told Oprah Winfrey Thursday that he'd grown as much as he could with "Idol," and he'd always wanted to leave before he would be asked to.
“I’m leaving for the same reasons you left,” Cowell told the Chicago host, who announced her decision to pull the plug on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” last November. “You just know that time’s up. I remember the first year when we did this, and it was like an adventure, and I loved not knowing if it would be successful, and the buzz...we were kind of making it up every week.”
But there comes a point, Cowell said, when “you go on automatic pilot, and there were too many times I was sitting there bored. I can’t hide it when I’m bored. And I thought, the audience deserves more than to tune in, and I’m bored.”
As a result, “Idol” will have to soldier on without one of it’s star judges. But who could ever replace Simon? Hopefully, he told Winfrey, someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.
A couple of weeks ago I remember we were arguing and kidding around on the panel, and I remember thinking at that point, ‘It’s too much about the judges at the moment, and we’ve forgotten what the contestants go through,’ ” Cowell said. “I think primarily you have to have someone who knows what they’re talking about…Someone who knows how to pick talent. If we were judging the ice-skating Olympics you wouldn’t have someone on there who’s obnoxious.”
And as “obnoxious” as Cowell may have been at times, despite all of that, he knows he can spot a star. Although, in all honesty, he has his moments where he misjudges a book by its cover.
“Susan Boyle, if I’m being honest with you, the second I saw her come out I was like, ‘oh here we go,' " Cowell admitted. “I wasn’t really listening to her answers, and then she started to sing and I thought ‘oh my God, we got this all wrong’…. We’re all sneering, we’re not listening to people [and] we’re judging everybody; I didn’t like what I saw in myself. I was happy she made us look stupid, because we deserved it.”
Just because he’s out of “Idol” doesn’t mean Cowell has lost the taste for talent competitions; he’s bringing a British sensation to our shores with “X Factor” – which, yes, will be in competition with “Idol.”
" 'Idol' is our competition, but so is everything, [like] ‘Dancing with the Stars’ …everything that’s popular,” Cowell said. “X Factor” will be a standout “because there’s no upper-age limit,” he added. “We thought it could be like David vs. Goliath, where a 16-year-old could be competing against a 35-year-old. I have no idea if it’ll succeed, but I’ll boil it down to whether or not we can find a star, and I’m confident that we can find a star.”
Cowell’s workaholic tendencies do make him a bit difficult to live with, he told Winfrey, and as a result have taken a toll on his ability to stay in a relationship. The problem isn’t so much what he's looking for, he said, but what his significant other may want. “I never genuinely believed anyone would want to marry me because I’m difficult to live with. I’m selfish, quite weird and I need time on my own to think and I work all night long,” he said.
Yet despite his oddities, Cowell has found happiness with makeup artist Mezhgan Hussainy.
“It’s good, because I’ve never been very good at relationships to be honest with you,” he told Winfrey. “I’ve been friends with all my exes so that’s worked well. But I never thought I would be with one person, and now I think I will.”
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