Simon Cowell Talks 'X Factor' Firings, Plays Down Mariah & Beyonce Rumors
Also in New Interview, Takes a Swipe at 'The Voice': 'How Many Records Have They Made?'
Simon Cowell has some explaining to do, and he's never been one to mince words.
The X Factor creator and judge spoke at length about the bloodbath at occurred on Monday, Jan. 30, with the announcement that host Steve Jones, and both female judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger would not be returning to the show.
Cowell knew that the firings were coming "at the beginning of the year -- and we were told it had to happen straight away," Cowell told Terri Seymour in an interview with Extra airing Wednesday.
Cowell added that he would have liked to keep Abdul, who he also worked with as a judge on "American Idol." "She was very gracious and I said that to her. She understands it's business; it's never personal," he said.
Cowell added that he felt Sherzinger was "not mad. I think she's disappointed." The other judge who will be staying with the show, L.A. Reid, is essential to the show, says Cowell. "Because there is not a record executive out there that is as good as him for the job. What impressed me about LA was that he was there 7 days a week. He was on it and I thought he was amazing," said Cowell.
As for who else will be joining him at the judges' table next season, Cowell was quick to shoot down rumors of Beyonce. "The budget for the show is $100 million. That would never ever happen. It's absolute nonsense. No one is going to pay $100 million for someone. I genuinely haven't had a conversation with her about it. Not at all," he said.
Cowell also added that while he would love Mariah Carey to join the show, she's not on the list of candidates. " You have to work five days a week and all the traveling, so she will not be on the list," he said. "I adore her, love her, but you can't expect someone who has just had two kids, has a record career to make the kind of commitment we would need on this show."
Extra also asked Cowell if he feels threatened by his NBC competition, The Voice, which has been pushing the fact that their judges (Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Cee-Lo Green and Adam Levine) are Grammy-winning artists.
"I would ask how many records have they made, how many artists have they discovered?" said Cowell, who also mentioned that he does not watch his competitor's shows. "That's where we have to be different on the judging panel. It's very important that you have people on the panel that have actually signed and made artists successful all over the world, not just have made hit records yourself."
Watch a preview of the interview below: