Simon Cowell Reminisces About ‘Idol’ in New Yahoo Music Interview

Simon Cowell, America’s favorite “mean judge,” will return to the American Idol stage tonight (April 7) for the series’ finale.

Yahoo Music Managing Editor Lindsey Parker sat down with Cowell before the big event to look back on the past years of Idol. They discussed Idol legend Kelly Clarkson, favorite performances and memorable moments with Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, whether or not he regrets leaving the show for the X Factor and much more.

For Cowell, “Piece by Piece” singer and Idol‘s first winner, Kelly Clarkson, will always be his favorite contestant. “Without Kelly, we never would have had the credibility and success that we had,” he told Parker.

Of course, Cowell’s long list of credentials and insanely harsh critiques didn’t hurt either.

Looking back on some of his favorite moments on Idol, Cowell said, “It was just the time I spent together on the road with the other guys [Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson], because we did become good friends. I always had some crazy nights with them. I remember one night we were in Texas and we actually forgot that we were recording a show the next day! We stayed up till 8 or 9 in the morning, and then we kind of staggered into the audition room and tried to do this show. It really was one of the funniest days.”

After nine seasons of fun with the other judges and dishing out snarky remarks, Cowell left Idol for a new singing competition show called X Factor. And although the show was never the same without him, Cowell does not regret leaving. “Oh God, no. I had my own reasons why I just had to get off that show. You have to move on and do other things with your life. I seriously have no regrets. But certainly for the first three or four years of Idol, I had the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. It was like the lunatics had taken over the asylum. The show was doing well, and we were finding great artists – which is why I did this show in the first place. It was never about being on a TV show for me. It was all about finding artists for my label.”

Since American Idol began in 2002, other singing competition shows, such as X Factor and The Voice, have made their way on to our TV screens. Cowell doesn’t believe the end of Idol is the end of the singing-show era. “No, I don’t think so. Everything comes around full-circle again. I’ve learned that in life. There was nothing clever about this [Idol] format; anyone could come up with an idea like this. What made it work was who was on the show. And that applies to any show you make. If you put talented people together and you’ve got great producers, of course you can do this again. In this particular case, it just ran out of steam. But it had a great run.”

To read more about Cowell’s time on Idol, visit Yahoo Music and don’t forget to tune in to FOX tonight at 8pm ET for the American Idol series finale.

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