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American Idol

Why Did Simon Cowell Leave the American Idol Judges’ Panel?

Forget Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. American Idol's biggest star is undoubtedly Simon Cowell. So why is he leaving the show he helped make such a success?

The short answer? Boredom. Okay, not exactly. The short answer is actually a new FOX show called X-Factor. In Cowell's own words, it's an "extreme version of Idol" — a singing competition that awards its winner with a recording contract, but also allows groups to compete and does away with Idol's age restrictions. If that doesn't sound like enough of a disparity, Simon Fuller — the creator of Pop Idol, American Idol's British predecessor — agreed. In 2005, the two Simons settled out of court over Fuller's allegations that Cowell's creation, X-Factor, had ripped its format from Pop Idol.

Regardless, come Fall 2011, Simon will now be judging a remarkably similar show. He spilled to Extra, "[G]etting successful is more fun than being successful sometimes. And I kind of missed that, of not knowing what's going to happen and that's how it feels doing this show now." It's a good thing he enjoys the uncertainty, because only time will tell if there's enough room in America's hearts — not to mention our TiVos — for another Idol-esque show.

12.3.2010 / 10:40 PM EDT by Jenny McGrath
Related: American Idol, Gossip, Simon Cowell

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