By People Staff
Updated May 21, 2010 12:00 AM
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Credit: Photos: Kevin Winter/Getty

Never one to be shy about what’s on his mind, Simon Cowell is blunt about why he’s leaving American Idol : He was bored.

In an interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show Thursday, the sharp-tongued judge said he just couldn’t “hide it anymore.”

“After awhile, you start to go on automatic pilot,” Cowell, 50, told Winfrey. “And there were too many times, Oprah, where I was sitting there bored, and I thought, ‘At the end of the day, the audience doesn’t tune in to watch me being bored. They deserve more than that. But I can’t hide it when I’m bored. I just can’t fake it.’ “

Cowell also said the pressure of the show has taken a toll on him. “Maybe it’s the draining effect when you have a lot of who depend on you … And you just become aware that a lot of depend on you, rely on you, or you’re not giving the time you should be giving them,” he said. “It’s almost like a guilt thing. And that does drain me.”

As for Cowell’s next act, he’ll be working on X Factor, another competitive singing reality show. While it won’t be too far a cry from Idol, there will be some differences.

“It’s different because there’s no upper age limit … Singing groups can enter the show,” he said. “I have no idea whether it’s going to work or not, but I’ll put its success and failure on whether we can find a star.”

Despite his boredom with Idol, Cowell told Winfrey he hasn’t lost the desire to be part of the reality show action. “I actually like doing it, funny enough,” he said. “I like the buzz it creates. You want to be part of something are talking about. I love that feeling.” — Zach Haberman

Kevin Winter/Getty