Simon Cowell has scoffed at rumours that Beyoncé will be offered $100m to become a judge on the US X Factor.
"I have no idea where this rumour came from," he told his ex-girlfriend Terri Seymour in a new interview for US entertainment news show Extra. "I read that I'd offered her $100m. Complete nonsense! The budget of the show is $100m.
"No-one's going to pay $100m a year for someone. It would never, ever happen. I haven't had a conversation with her about it."
Cowell also ruled out hiring Elton John - "He wouldn't do it. And he'd be really difficult to work with" - and said that Mariah Carey, in whom the X Factor boss has previously expressed an interest, is too busy bringing up her family.
"I don't think Mariah would make that commitment. She's just had kids," Cowell said. "You have to work five days a week on this show, and you've got to do all the travelling as well. She will not be on the list."
When prompted, Cowell also commented on the potential merits as judges of Madonna - "She'd be great. In terms of experience and success, brilliant. Lippy. Expensive" - and Katy Perry, who was a guest judge in 2010 on the British version of the show: "Katy would be fun because she is hard, in a good way, and she's feisty."
Last month it was announced that series one judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, along with host Steve Jones, would not be retained for the second run in 2012.
"Paula was fine," Cowell said of Abdul's reaction to the decision. "She was very gracious. She understands it's business, it's never personal. I would have liked to have kept her."
Of Scherzinger, Cowell said: "I don't think she's mad. I think she's disappointed." And he said keeping producer LA Reid - the only judge apart from Cowell himself to survive the cull - was important: "There's not a record executive out there who is as good as him for the job."
Asked about what hadn't worked on the first series of the US X Factor, which didn't get as large an audience as Cowell and the show's network Fox had hoped for, Cowell said: "Most things did work. It was only because I opened my big mouth at the beginning and said we were going to get 20 million [viewers]. If I hadn't said that, everybody would be saying the show, as a new show, was a huge success."
Watch the full interview below.