Simon Cowell: The Reason He Left ‘American Idol’ Revealed – Hollywood Life

Simon Cowell Reveals The Major Issue He Had With ‘American Idol’ & Why He ‘Moved On’

Simon Cowell took his judging talents from 'American Idol' to 'America's Got Talent,' and he had one major issue with the former show.

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Simon Cowell, 59, is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry, and he definitely knows what a star looks like – but he had one huge issue with American Idol, the show in which he judged singing contestants from 2002 to 2010. Simon told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that he took issue with the age limit on the then-Fox channel show. For most of the time he was on the show, contestants had to be at least 16 years old, and couldn’t be older than 28.

“How can you say, ‘You can’t be a star [because of your age],'” Simon said. “And I found the word ‘Idol’ obnoxious to be honest with you. And why isn’t a 35-year-old as great as an 18-year-old? I just got to the point where this is not real, which is why I move on [to the United States’ version of The X Factor and then finally America’s Got Talent].”

But, he still appreciated the show even though he didn’t agree with that one aspect. He continued, “I mean I still like the show, but I was lucky because I went through the purple period with the artists that I am still friends with now. And we have remained amazingly good friends, we speak, hangout and talk. So I had the good years!”

Simon sat on the American Idol panel of judges for eight years, but the now-ABC show’s panel of judges consists of singers Katy Perry, 34, Luke Bryan, 42, and Lionel Richie, 69. American Idol is still hosted by Ryan Seacrest, 44 – we have no idea how Ryan finds the time, between Live with Kelly and Ryan and his radio show! Regardless, we’re happy that Simon has moved on to a show in which he thinks he can find talent from a wider group of people, due to different age restrictions.