Simon Cowell is speaking out for the first time since the big shakeup at The X Factor, and the famously brusque producer and judge is setting a few things straight.
Cowell's popular singing competition series made headlines last week when it was announced that several key personnel from last season had been fired. Those who won't be returning to the show include judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones.
In an interview with Extra, Cowell said that the decision to make the changes came from the very top, and that although he would have liked to keep his old American Idol comrade Paula Abdul, business is business.
"She was very gracious and I said that to her. She understands it's business; it's never personal,” he said of Abdul.
Sticking around for next season is famed music executive Epic Records chairman L.A. Reid. Cowell explained why Reid was simply irreplaceable.
"Because there is not a record executive out there that is as good as him for the job," he said. "What impressed me about L.A. was that he was there 7 days a week. He was on it and I thought he was amazing.”
Cowell emphatically shot down a rumor that Beyoncé would be joining the show as a new judge, indicating that such an appointment simply wasn't in the budget.
“The budget for the show is $100 million. That would never, ever happen. It’s absolute nonsense. No one is going to pay $100 million for someone. I genuinely haven’t had a conversation with her about it. Not at all,” he said.
As for perennially rumored collaborator Mariah Carey? Simon still loves her, but the job's still not a match.
"You have to work five days a week and all the travelling, so she will not be on the list,” he said. “I adore her, love her, but you can’t expect someone who has just had two kids, has a record career to make the kind of commitment we would need on this show.”
The X Factor is expected to return, with new judges and host, this fall.
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(Photos: Frank Micelotta/Fox/PictureGroup; Jemal Countess/Getty Images)