In an interview set to air Monday, March 14 at 9pmET/PT on CNN Simon Cowell tells Piers Morgan that the new season of American Idol is better than his final season!

“I personally think it is a better show than last year,” Cowell says. “It feels to me they’ve got their energy back, they’re confident, they’re competitive.”

“It’s not the show I would make myself, because that’s why I moved from the show in the first place,” says Simon. “I always think of Idol really as me, Paula and Randy…when other people were brought in, it was like a different show.”

“Weird atmosphere,” Simon says of his last Idol season.

The full, hour-long interview will run on Moran’s CNN show, Monday. Simon takes on Elton John, previews his new show The X Factor and more.

Watch the clip after the jump.

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  • Valentin432

    Simon wasn’t interested last year, that’s pretty much what he says here.

    I believe the idol crew is working harder because of the competition with X factor, so in this case it’s a win win.

  • BrianC82

    Yeah Simon, it’s better than last season because you aren’t around to stink up the joint. You’ll be lucky if The X-Factor draws even half the audience of AI this year.

  • tinawina

    I believe the idol crew is working harder because of the competition with X factor, so in this case it’s a win win.

    I agree.

    You’ll be lucky if The X-Factor draws even half the audience of AI this year.

    I disagree. :D

    I think he’ll get great numbers, at least at first. Especially if the judging doesn’t kick it up a notch this year. But sustaining it is a whole other story. He needs to get a good judging panel and great talent, like they all do.

  • Elliegrll

    He needs to get a good judging panel and great talent, like they all do.

    I still think that X-Factor will suffer from comparisons to AI, as well as AI burnout, especially if this season is very competitive.

  • tommy

    I agree. I think The X-Factor is about 5 years too late. It should have premiered when Idol was peaking and hot. There is a little fatigue with these shows as there is with every hot new genre that hits the scene. Except that Idol does have new energy this year so if Simon is smart, and it appears his kinder words for AI indicate he is, he will champion Idol and springboard his new show off of AI’s renewed popularity. Maybe he is figuring that out.

  • MrDuffin

    I agree with Simon. American Idol is Paula, Randy, and Simon. The show now has the same name but it is not the same show. Now it is more like a dog and pony show with TPTB as the trainers. So far I have not been impressed with the talent or the judges. The show is so micro-managed there is not spontaneity at all. It’s all very predictable.

  • windmills

    tommy: I think The X-Factor is about 5 years too late. It should have premiered when Idol was peaking and hot.

    The reason X Factor didn’t happen 5 years ago in the US is that Simon Fuller sued Simon Cowell over X Factor in the UK, alleging Cowell had ripped off the idea of Idol. They ended up settling and one of the terms of the settlement is that Fuller would discontinue Pop Idol in the UK while Cowell would not be able to start X Factor in the US for 5 years. The lawsuit was going on during s4 of AI in 2005. I think the 5 years expired in 2010 and that’s why X Factor’s able to start in the US now. Fuller basically gave up the UK and Cowell had to make a HUGE concession in the US by delaying X Factor.

    ITA there’s going to be genre fatigue and we’re past the point where X Factor can become the big pop culture sensation like Idol was. It’s not just that AI’s back and people are liking it. You’ve got The Voice on NBC, this new karaoke competition on ABC in the summer, and the cable nets have Going Platinum for songwriters, and Nigel’s CMT’s Next Superstar for country. There’s also NBC’s Sing Off.

    I think Idol/The Voice/X Factor will hurt each other but I don’t know how much. It seems like AI would have the advantage from being more established. The format of X Factor and Simon being part of it make me less likely to watch. I haven’t been impressed by too many of the names rumored for X Factor judge either. The only thing I like better about X Factor is that groups would be allowed.

  • jpfan

    Simon’s right. I think the problem was the horrible Kara and the unfunny Ellen. Plus Simon didn’t care anymore and it showed. I think X Factor won’t do as well as Idol but should do better than The Voice. That seems like a trainwreck.

    The X Factor will work if they generate some water cooler buzz.

  • Elliegrll

    I agree with Simon. American Idol is Paula, Randy, and Simon.

    American Idol is the contestants, not the judges. It’s also ordinary people voting for their favorite, which is the reason why AI has outlasted all of the copycats that have been launched in this country.

    When it became clear that Simon and the others said things just for the sake of the tv cameras, their importance to the show lessened. It’s true that this judging panel needs to be more critical of performances, but even then the show still won’t be about them.

  • Valentin432

    There are a lot of X factor shows beginning all over the world in Chile, Australia, France, Germany, etc.

    Some have replaced the previous idol show that was in place (Australia, France…), some are competing against a still existing idol series (Germany, US).

    X factor australia wasn’t a big success in terms of ratings so it’s going to be interesting to see if X factor is enough of a change from Idol to renew the interest for reality tv talent shows.

  • tinawina

    You’ve got The Voice on NBC, this new karaoke competition on ABC in the summer, and the cable nets have Going Platinum for songwriters, and Nigel’s CMT’s Next Superstar for country. There’s also NBC’s Sing Off.

    I think these are the shows that are Simon’s real worry, since if any one of them catches on they will steal his thunder. America’s Got Talent is a cheesy summer show. But the others are focused on singing and pop culture and all have some elements that the XFactor is trying to claim, and they will literally be on the air right before Simon’s show starts (aren’t most of these planning to run in the summer?)

    Still, the X Factor has Simon as its main attraction. People here love him and I can’t see him not debuting to large numbers just on the curiousity factor. But The Voice has famous, relevant music stars who pick and coach the talent (Strike One), The CMT show can tailor its wares to a very specific large US market, and Nigel knows how to put together that type of show (Strike Two), Sing Off has singing groups of a type that are hot with the college crowd and Glee types (Strike Three) and Going Platinum is focusing on hit songs (Strike Four). He has to do more than just make an all-singing version of America’s Got Talent, which is just how this could come off if he’s not careful.

    But Simon’s a smart guy, so I wouldn’t count him out.

  • Tess

    “I always think of Idol really as me, Paula and Randy

    I’m sure he does. This man has by far one of the biggest egos I have ever seen. He has totally convinced himself that AI wouldn’t even be a blip on the radar if it wasn’t for him and his “fantastically witty and astute comments”. I hate to tell the guy but I don’t think the 20 million people who are tuning into idol every week are lamenting his choice to vamoos. I also think that Paula wasn’t and isn’t missed…if she is and was her dance show would have blown up on the airways since she was “obviously” one of the main attractions when she was on Idol.

    God, I’m glad Simon and Paula are gone. And I still don’t get all the comments from the idol blogosphere about the current judges not judging. When in the world did Simon or Randy or Paula really give a legitimate critique over nine years. They were just talking to hear themselves. Ya know…maybe they said something good once in a while but I tuned them out so long ago because of their idiotic remarks that it wouldn’t have registered with me anyway.

  • AmericanIdol8

    Isn’t X-Factor a new improved version of that show Ed McManhon from the tonight show had a while back? It did have bands, single singers, no age limit, but then it did have comedians, and other stuff too so ok, um maybe not!

  • pattycake

    The big difference this year is the judges are engaged in the process. They actively sought out contestants and took time and consideration into their selection, and the seem to be mindful and interested in their performances. In other words, they are doing their job.
    In seasons 7 and 8 none of the judges seems to care a bit of what was happening on the stage.

  • jericho

    Simon Cowell tells Piers Morgan that the new season of American Idol is better than his final season!

    ….and in other news, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west!

  • tinawina

    And I still don’t get all the comments from the idol blogosphere about the current judges not judging.

    They did a great job up until the live shows IMO. But last week, most of the people who stunk up the stage were not told so unless Randy did it. Not only that, but some of them were told they were great and beautiful by the judges when they clearly weren’t. Its not about being mean, its about giving them the feedback they need to get better.

    I’m willing to give the judges a few weeks on that front. Right now Randy is the only one coming close to being consistently useful, JLo does it in spurts and Steven is the cheerleader.

  • jericho

    When in the world did Simon or Randy or Paula really give a legitimate critique over nine years. They were just talking to hear themselves.

    So I just rewatched the season-that-shall-not-be-discussed, and I have to say, regarding critiques, Kara was an idiot, i.e. studio 57, the guy from Saturday Night Live, etc; Simon acted like his shit doesn’t stink (thanks mom!); Randy said the same thing every week and even prefaced what he was saying with “I know I’ve said this every week but…” and “I’m beginning to sound like a broken record but…”. Paula was the surprise to me. I didn’t remember how she actually said things that made sense. She used the words “visceral” and “transfixed” properly. It was completely shocking to me. After just watching it with a critical eye, I gotta say, Paula really seemed to be the judge whose opinion was really spot on.

    …and no, I wasn’t drinking when I watched it.

  • Holden

    American Idol is the contestants, not the judges.

    I agree. They day after the show, everyone talks about the performances. Most people don’t even remember what the judges said. I’m looking forward to this season because as of now, it looks like there is some great talent in the line-up.

  • wellhesback

    Jericho – I’ve rewatched the critiques from my favorite season, S7, often and (except for that little reviewing the JasonCastro song she hadn’t heard yet thing) Paula was a good judge. Simon was also pretty spot on. That year Randy was awful, imo.Simon, Randy, and Paula did have the charisma. Glad they’ve found a new panel that seems to work.

  • JONNYSBRO

    The thing is Simon is backtracking on his he was not watching the new Idol. Its cause last Thursday episode was 29 percent higher then a year ago when Simon was part of the show. The show was supposed to be crash and burn bigtime without Simon. Not only it hasn’t but the show has so much better talent and buzz. Honestly Simon is just eating crow as last season he could have cared less, had a really indulgent Idol farewell acting like the show was doing done. I think that’s whats freaked him out, the show survived without him and something most thought couldn’t be done.

  • Jewlmc

    “I always think of Idol really as me, Paula and Randy

    What nice slap in the face not only to the contestants over the years, but also to Ryan. Can Simon EVER not be a public d*** towards him? Ryan will at least stop being a child for a few minutes and give Simon his props.

  • shell29

    But Simon’s a smart guy, so I wouldn’t count him out.

    ITA. People will tune into to X Factor to see Simon. I don’t see the show flopping, at least not initially. It will be interesting to see how long the two shows (Idol & X Factor) can co-exist.

  • OldHag

    I actually like the UK X-factor and Simon was a different person on it than what we saw on Idol, not anywhere near as rude. That said, Idol is soooo much better this year because of the talent, which was sorely lacking last year. To me, the introduction of Kara brought a negativity to Idol that no amount of talent could erase anyway.

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    ILY SIMON