Simon Cowell: Firing Paula Abdul from 'X Factor' Was Not Personal

Judge says he would have preferred to keep his longtime colleague on the show

Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell at the Final 3 Red Carpet and Press Conference.
Ray Mickshaw / FOX
Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell at the Final 3 Red Carpet and Press Conference.
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Paula Abdul was recently dropped from the judges' panel on the American version of The X Factor, but according to lead judge and executive producer Simon Cowell, the decision to let her go was strictly business. "I would've liked to have kept her," Cowell told Extra about his relationship with Abdul, having worked alongside her on American Idol for eight seasons. "She was very gracious, and I said that to her. She understands it's business – it's never personal."

As of yet, Cowell has not selected a replacement for Abdul, or Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones, who were also sacked. He told Extra he thinks Madonna would be great for the show but very expensive, and that Katy Perry "would be fun, and she's feisty." He also explained that L.A. Reid will remain on X Factor because "there's not a record executive out there who is as good as him for the job."