When asked about rumors that host Ryan Seacrest might be planning to leave the ABC reality series, Cowell, 59, told Us Weekly and other reporters at the America’s Got Talent live show red carpet on Tuesday, August 13: “I have no idea. I haven’t seen the show in so many years, I honestly couldn’t tell you.”
The former X Factor judge then called back to an earlier question about Harry Styles passing on the role of Prince Eric in the upcoming live adaptation of a classic Disney film. “I know more about The Little Mermaid,” he joked. Cowell previously noted that he had never seen the movie and did not “know enough about” it to speak to the 25-year-old former One Direction member’s decline.
The reality star served as an original judge on American Idol alongside Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson when the show debuted on Fox in 2002. He left after season 9 in 2010. The competition series was later rebooted by ABC in 2018, less than two years after its series finale.
Cowell admitted in May 2017 that he had the opportunity to rejoin the show upon its revival. “I was asked to do it, and the answer is no,” he told Extra at the time. “I have no interest. My memories are when we first started. It was a different time with Randy, Ryan and Paula. You can’t recreate that.”
The America’s Got Talent judge still has a fond place for American Idol in his heart, though. He reunited with Abdul, 57, and Jackson, 63, during the reality show’s April 2016 series finale. “I’d like to say on behalf of us, thank you, America, for inviting us into your homes, thank you to the contestants … and for you guys being actually my best friends now, and I’m going to miss you,” a teary-eyed Cowell told his former costars. “I’m feeling quite emotional now.”
With reporting by Taylor Ferber
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