"I actually liked him. It was a moment in time," O'Donnell tells PEOPLE about Cowell

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Rosie O’Donnell finally sees the human side of Simon Cowell after his response to hearing the Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle.

“Simon Cowell was genuinely moved when he heard Susan Boyle sing,” O’Donnell, 47, told PEOPLE Saturday night at a Florida showcase of her artwork in Boca Raton’s Wentworth Gallery. “He showed his humanity, and I actually liked him. It was a moment in time.”

Count O’Donnell, who is donating all proceeds of the three-hour art exhibition to her Rosie’s Broadway Kids charity, as yet another fan who marvels at Boyle’s voice. When the plain and overweight Boyle, 47, opened her mouth to sing on TVs Britain’s Got Talent last week, Cowell – like most observers – was expecting a train wreck.

“That moment is what every artist tries to capture,” O’Donnell tells PEOPLE “Here is this … Shrek come to life, directing energy towards her soul. This was so rare … something authentic in a world that is usually manufactured. It was a perfect moment which will never happen again.”

Insists O’Donnell, “We should enjoy it for what it was.”