Simon Cowell: “I’m not going to self-destruct”

Talent show mogul promises to leave our screens before we get sick of him...


Simon Cowell has admitted his TV talent formats can’t last for ever – and he’s vowed to bow out of the market before people become bored of him. 


Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, the X Factor creator said: “I’ll know when
it’s time a) for me to leave the shows or b) not to make these shows
any more, simply because people won’t be interested. I’m not going to

He also launched an attack on BBC talent show The Voice UK, asking why the programme is broadcast on television rather than radio.

“That show puzzles me because it starts off and ‘it’s all about the voice’, so my first thought is, ‘Why isn’t this on radio?’ Because what’s the point in looking at them?

“Then suddenly I’m watching it a week, two weeks ago. It’s the same as The X Factor. You know, they’ve got dancers behind them. They’ve got graphics, lights. Same show.”

Cowell – who described himself as “lucky, hard-working and weird”- then discussed his reaction to the launch of the BBC’s £22m rival show, which initially won a ratings battle and led to the Britain’s Got Talent judge sending the corporation a congratulatory message on Twitter.

“When The Voice came along it’s kind of like, ‘Roll your sleeves up, we’re in for a bit if a punch-up here,'” he said.

“I’m smiling now because we’re winning at the moment. I wasn’t so happy three weeks ago. But not to the point of any silliness.”

Cowell explained that he felt “nervous” about the quality of performers emerging from The X Factor, conceding that few artists had become true stars after appearing on the show.

He said: “We had this conversation about two or three years ago where, with the exception of Leona Lewis, I was getting nervous and I thought if we don’t find real stars from these shows after all the razzmatazz, all the promises, all the hype and you end with somebody who’s going to put out a single and then go away it’s a waste of time, a waste of my time and everyone’s time.”

And asked whether he believed his shows exploited vulnerable people, Cowell admitted that his experiences with Susan Boyle, the surprise hit singer who emerged on Britain’s Got Talent, had made him more aware of the need to safeguard participants’ welfare.

The 52-year-old said: “I think after Susan Boyle you can feel it around you on the show. Everyone is very, very, very more aware of whether this person is up for this or not. If we don’t think they’re tough enough they really aren’t allowed to audition.

“People do get through the net. But we don’t sit there and go, ‘Let’s try and find someone vulnerable and weak to exploit today to make fun of them.’


“You’ve got to also try to retain a balance and a sense of humour.”