Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul
Steve Granitz/WireImage; Fitzroy Barrett /Landov
02/08/2012 at 07:00 AM EST
blames himself for the big shakeup
at The X Factor
, saying he set unreasonable expectations for the show, and was forced to let Paula Abdul
and Nicole Scherzinger go when it underperformed.
"I would've liked to have kept [Paula]," Cowell, 52, tells Extra
. "She was very gracious, and I said that to her. She understands it's business; it's never personal."
Of Scherzinger, he added: "I don't think she's mad. I think she's disappointed."
Why the big changes? "It's only because I opened my big mouth and said we were going to get 20 million [viewers]," Cowell says. "If I hadn't said that, everybody would be saying the show was a huge success."
As it turns out, L.A. Reid was the only fellow judge who was indispensable. "There's not a record executive out there who is as good as him for the job," Cowell says.
Asked about potential new judges, Cowell called rumors that Beyoncé
was being considered "complete nonsense." He said that Madonna
would be "great" but "expensive," and that Katy Perry
would be "fun" and "feisty."
And what about Mariah Carey
? "I would love her," he admits, "but you can't expect someone who's just had two kids to make the kind of commitment you would need on this show."