Simon Cowell kinda sorry about 'X Factor' massacre

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February

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Now that pink slips for three-quarters of The X Factor have been delivered, Simon Cowell finally is speaking out about why so many people got the boot. Surprise: He says it's because of him.

"It's only because I opened my big mouth and said we were going to get 20 million (viewers)," he told Extra. "If I hadn't said that, everybody would be saying the show, as a new show, was a huge success." He said the changes started being discussed at the beginning of the year, so they sure didn't waste any time.

He did say he was sorry Paula Abdul was canned, lamenting, "I would've liked to have kept her. She was very gracious and I said that to her. She understands it's business; it's never personal." As for Nicole Scherzinger, he noted, "I don't think she's mad. I think she's disappointed." But L.A. Reid, he had to stay, something he and Fox executive agreed upon. "There's not a record executive out there who is as good as him for the job." Steve Jones didn't rate a mention, at least not in the clip we're offering above.

He also denied Beyonce Knowles was being considered as a replacement judge, as well as Elton John, but he'd consider Madonna (who would be "expensive") and Katy Perry (who would "be fun ... and she's feisty"). And what about Mariah Carey?

"I would love her, but you can't expect someone who's just had ... two kids, has got a record career, to make the kind of commitment we would need on this show," Cowell said, noting she'd have to work five days a week and travel a lot. There's plenty of working moms who already do that, y'know, and they aren't getting $10 million a year to do it.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 4:41pm]

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