Simon Cowell claims he and Paula Abdul were the reason the American Idol, which ended just this week, had such a steep decline in viewers after season 8.

“Paula was the right leg and I was the left leg. And with both legs gone, it wasn’t the same show,” Cowell told Yahoo!’s The Insider to promote his new gig co-hosting America’s Got Talent. “To be honest I think it changed more significantly. The show was never the same because she and I had such a connection and such a shorthand together.”

Cowell has confessed that he hasn’t watched any recent episodes of the show. He knows that the dynamic must be changed drastically, with the panel of Jennifer LopezKeith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr. but not much more.

“To be honest with you,” said Cowell to Variety, “I haven’t seen it in a couple years so I don’t really have an opinion on it.”

Despite these harsh words, Cowell returned for the show’s finale. (“I think so, yeah,” said Cowell to Yahooto the question of whether or not he would be returning for the finale.) Apparently this was a last minute decision that he made. He had to cancel promotion plans for Britain’s Got Talent in order to join fellow American Idol alumni in the star-studded finale.

A source revealed to The Mirror this week that Cowell was not supposed to return for the finale originally, with only a video message to represent the figure that was so heavily involved with the start of the show. However, some last minutes changes, which many speculated was the inclusion of Abdul and Randy Jackson in the finale, convinced Cowell to come.

“Cowell has issues with the show creator Simon Fuller and they are not the best of friends,” explained the source, “But [American Idol] was a huge part of Cowell’s life and the fact they have had differences over the years is not a reason to stay away.”

Cowell is returning to American television screens in the May (the first time since his three-year stint on the American version of The X-Factor which he also created) on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. He told Variety that his experience on America’s Got Talent, with co-panelists Howie MandelHeidi Klum, and Mel B, reminded him of the golden days of Idol.

“When I came and did this show, after a few days, I thought ‘this reminds me of the same thing’ — it’s fun, it’s crazy, the panel is great. There’s an energy that reminds me of that,” said Cowell.

As for whether or not he will bring his signature persona to AGT he said, “If I come over as harsh at times, it’s only because I’m being real.”

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