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Catching Up With... Simon Cowell

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Do you miss American Idol?

No. It was time to get out of my comfort zone. But I miss Randy; he’s still one of my best friends.

How do you think Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are doing on Idol?

Fine. They’re making the show more positive. It’s working for them, so I can’t really knock it. It’s just a totally different show to the one I was on.

Auditions for your upcoming FOX show, The X Factor, kick off in L.A. March 27. What are you looking for?

Someone unique. We always get people trying to be the next Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. You’ve got to have the confidence to be different. The aim of doing the show is to find somebody who should be a star everywhere. I have to believe that; otherwise I wouldn’t do it. And there is a small matter of the $5 million recording contract [prize] as well.

Who’s in the running to judge and mentor with you on The X Factor?

Paula Abdul. She has good taste in music, though you didn’t always see that on TV. I also like Jessica Simpson. She knows what she’s talking about; she’s very into the mentoring side and is underrated as a singer. I think [British X Factor judge] Cheryl Cole’s personality would translate in America, and we’d love to work with [Island Def Jam honcho] L.A. Reid. After Mariah Carey has her babies, there might be a role for her during the live shows.

Will you ban any songs?

Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” I’m allergic to that record now. And “At Last.”

Can we expect to see you in black T-shirts or something different?

I pack a load of sweaters and T-shirts, and only when I watch it back do I realize, “God, I’ve worn the same thing.” I’ll do something differently-at least I’ll think about it.