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"I think Mariah will have a role in the live shows," Cowell told radio host Jackie Brown on Friday. "I met her recently and she was on great form."
Cowell named just one reason that Carey was ruled out as a judge. Well, two reasons, technically.
"She's pregnant! I would literally have to have the auditions in a maternity unit or something," Cowell exclaimed. "And I think that's pushing it."
The TV-savvy Cowell paused and added, "Although now that I mention it, not a bad idea."
Carey is eight months pregnant with twins, but she hasn't lost any of her fabulous diva attitude -- as proved by the idea she gave Simon for her role on the show.
"Her idea was to be the judge of the judges, which only Mariah could come up with," Cowell said. "She'll be involved in some form. I literally adore her. I love her to bits."
Thousands of hopeful amateurs have already auditioned for The X Factor, which will pit singers against one another for the biggest recording contract in reality TV history (it's $5 million to the winner, as opposed to the paltry $1 mil record deal the American Idol victor claims).
Cowell has named producer Antonio "L.A." Reid as one of his three judges, and says he's getting "down to the wire" on the other two. He's said that his short list includes George Michael, Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul and Nicki Minaj, while Jessica Simpson, Enrique Iglesias and Taylor Momsen are all rumored to be under consideration.
And then there's "Friday" viral sensation Rebecca Black.
"I could see her as a guest judge," Simon said on the radio. "Why not? In the maternity unit. Let's just totally embrace the madness! I'm up for it."
The X Factor will air in September on Fox.