Simon Cowell Has 'Horrible Nightmare' He's Nice on The X Factor
07/13/2011 AT 11:45 AM EDT
In a preview of Fox's upcoming singing competition, The X Factor", show creator and judge Simon Cowell seems to be putting his familiar not-so-nice American Idol ways behind him.
Cowell, 51, who for nine seasons was known for his often cranky and critical feedback at the Idol judges's table, now is all smiles as he applauds and praises X Factor hopefuls in the clip ("I love your spirit," he tells one young girl).
Of course, it's all "a horrible nightmare," and when the sneak peek continues (watch below), the judging panel – Cowell, L.A. Reid, Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger – is not playing nice.
Could this be a dig at Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler, who showed a softer side to judging this past Idol season?
"Absolute, total rubbish," Cowell, true to his familiar Idol style, tells an aspiring contestant in a clip from the auditions.
The preview also veers from the Idol path with product placement: The X Factor judges are seen sipping from Pepsi (not Coca-Cola) cups, and the show features Chevrolet (not Ford) cars.