WATCH: Simon Cowell's Mom Thought Steven Tyler Was Paula Abdul?

Cowell shares his mom's reaction to the new American Idol judges and jokes about the show's success without him

Simon Cowell is no longer at the judges’ table on American Idol, but the sharp-tongued critic has some strong opinions about the newbies filling his seat. On Wednesday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Cowell joked about the show’s performance and shared his mom's opinion of his Idol replacements.

When asked by Jay Leno if he was displeased that Idol is still bringing in big ratings, Simon replied with his trademark sarcasm. "I’m thrilled," he joked. "You always want to leave a show, and it does better, right?" The X-Factor creator quickly clarified that he thought the show was actually performing "about the same," and said he's happy about its continued success. "I’m like that with my friends: do well, just don’t do that well," he said honestly.

Cowell then told Leno that his 86-year-old mother still watches the show. "She said, 'Tell Jennifer (Lopez), the new girl, I like her. Give my love to Randy (Jackson).' And -- true story -- 'Tell Paula (Abdul) she looks a bit tired,'" he told the host. "I said, 'That's not actually Paula, mom. That's Steven Tyler."

Ouch! Tyler may be the crooner behind "(Dude) Looks Like a Lady," but we don’t think he’s that feminine!

Cowell also said he thought he was "kinder" as a judge than this season's trio. (Yep, you read that right!) Apparently, he thinks his direct approach was better for the Idol hopefuls and seems to think the new judges led on contestants, only to cut them in the end.

Watch for yourself below.


Cowell may be having a laugh about his Idol successors, but the critic himself got some rejection recently. The British star told a 104.3 MY FM radio show that he didn't receive an invitation to the royal wedding. "Maybe it got lost in the post," he said. He also admitted (jokingly) that he felt a bit slighted by Prince William and Kate Middleton's snub. "What have I done wrong?" he asked.

Looks like Cowell won't be clinking champagne glasses with Elton John at the reception!

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