Simon Cowell: American Idol Is Better This Season Without Me

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One month after admitting he had only seen "three minutes" of American Idol, Simon Cowell has caught up on enough of the series to declare it's a better show without him.

"I personally think it is a better show than last year. I genuinely do," the acerbic judge — who departed the series last May after nine seasons — says in an interview airing March 14 on Piers Morgan Tonight. "It feels to me that they've got their energy back, they're confident, they're competitive."

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And as Cowell looks ahead to the U.S. launch of his competition series The X Factor this fall, the media mogul admits he's inspired by Idol's season 10 improvements.

"I said to everyone on my show, 'If you think Idol is going to be the same as last year, think again. They are working 10 times as hard, as I would.'" Cowell tells Morgan. "It's not the show I would make myself, that's why I moved from the show in the first place. I want to make something different. But for Idol, based on last year, I think it's better."

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