November 20, 2013 03:00 PM

He once welcomed her to Hollywood and now Simon Cowell is congratulating Kelly Clarkson on her arrival to parenthood.

“I’m slightly ahead of her, yes,” Cowell, who’s expecting his first child with Lauren Silverman, told PEOPLE during Jaguar’s introduction of the new F-type coupe in Playa Vista, Calif. on Tuesday..

“I’m happy for her because she’s a great girl. Some of these contestants on [American Idol] can change a bit over the years, [but] she’s a really nice person and she remembers how the show gave her a break.”

Despite his well-wishes, Cowell, 54, admits it was his own news of becoming a father that caught him off guard.

“Come on, I would have never ever expected it, but it’s happened and I’m embracing it now,” he says.

Neilson Barnard/Getty. Inset: Charles Sykes/Invisi

But is the future father already showing signs of being a stage dad? He jokes he can already foresee fierce competition between his son and Clarkson’s baby on the way.

“[They’ll be] competing against each other in a competition. I can see it now … I’m thinking 15 years ahead,” he says.

— Anya Leon with reporting by Reagan Alexander

Flashback Video: What do Simon Cowell’s co-judges think of his baby news?

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