Simon Cowell Promises to Shake Things Up on ‘America’s Got Talent’: ‘There Aren’t Really Any Rules’

Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell Didier Baverel/WireImage

We've missed you, Simon! As Us Weekly exclusively confirmed back in October, America’s favorite brutally honest Brit, Simon Cowell, is finally returning to the judges' table stateside for season 11 of America’s Got Talent.

While he’s been behind the scenes at AGT as an executive producer, the reality show veteran, 56, who has judged both the American and British versions of The X Factor in addition to American Idol, tells Us that stepping in front of the cameras as a judge has been on his mind for some time now. 

"I’ve been thinking about it for a while. We did actually talk about me doing the show a few years ago, and at the time I couldn’t do it,” he explains. "But having been on the British show ever since it started, every time I used to turn up and watch America’s Got Talent, there was a part of me that always thought, ‘You know what? It would be a really fun show to do.’ So when it came up again this time, I thought it was just too good an opportunity to turn down. And I want to experience what it’s like judging American talent on this show, compared to just British talent.”

Taking over for radio host Howard Stern, Cowell tells Us, will shake things up a bit from his last gigs judging talent in the U.K. "It’s definitely going to be a lot different,” he says. "And it should be. We are always looking for someone good.” 

Cowell adds that he doesn’t expect the search to be boring: “Over the years we’ve had some real wackers, but that kind of makes the show interesting. I mean, this is a show where there shouldn’t be any rules, there aren’t really any rules, so everyone is welcome. Well, almost everyone!” he adds, laughing.

But does Cowell want to find a great singer? Or maybe a magician? An acrobat? Guess again! 

“I love the animal acts!” he tells Us. “Ever since I’ve done the show, I’ve always had a feeling in the back of my mind that we’re going to find a dog or a cat that can actually sing. And that would be almost a life’s ambition.” The next Grumpy Cat perhaps? Simon has bigger plans in mind: “Grumpy Cat doesn’t do anything, he just looks grumpy — so I think we can do better than that!”

AGT auditions are in progress right now before the show begins airing this summer. Check out the AGT auditions website for details on when they’ll be in a city near you. 

And if you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next Grumpy Cat? Cowell’s advice is simple. "I would say, take the attitude that right now, anything goes. I always like to see something that I haven’t seen before, and don’t be not as good as we’ve seen before, if that makes sense. But you know, it’s a very open-minded show, it reflects what happening in the world today, and if you’ve got something which you think makes you extraordinary and different, then you’re welcome."

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!