Simon Cowell is gearing up for the launch of his new reality singing competition "The X Factor," and says that he brought former "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul on board because it's like "owning a dog."
"It's like owning a dog and the dog will only sit next to its master," Cowell, 51, told People magazine. "It's comfortable. If she's away from me, she pines. She's unhappy. She has to sit next to me."
The pair bonded on the set of "American Idol," and Cowell, who earned the nickname "Mr. Nasty" from British tabloids, told the weekly that he really warmed up to Abdul's personality.
"I like loopy," Cowell said. "I can be a bit loopy at times, and I can hang out with her socially because she gets on with my friends. We have a similar sense of humor and I tell her there are no rules on this show, so don't worry about how you want to behave."
He also said that "X Factor" will be a good opportunity for Abdul, 49, to prove that she knows what she's going and is "good at spotting stars."
Cowell helped launch what would become FOX's most successful reality show almost a decade ago and as one of three "American Idol" judges, was famous for his cynical, blunt and honest negative critiques of untrained or simply terrible singers.
Cowell quit "American Idol" after the end of the ninth season in 2010 and said on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in May that two years ago, as ratings began to decline, he became bored with the series. Cowell joins Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger, record executive L.A. Reid and Abdul on "The X Factor."
A recent promo, which aired last month on FOX, begins with Cowell appearing to be impressed by a young girl singing "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie" before him and the other judges, then declaring that he wants to make people's dreams come true.
Cowell then wakes up from what he calls "a horrible nightmare" and cue Guns n' Roses' cover of "Live and Let Die."
Contestants are then shown performing before the judges, while Cowell is unforgiving in his criticism, calling one "talented but deluded." Reid joins in, telling one person: "I wanted to slit my wrists."
"What else did you expect?" Cowell says in the promo with a wry smile.
The show is based on a series Cowell judged and developed in the United Kingdom. The new series debuts on FOX on September 21 and will offer its winner a $5 million record deal - which is reportedly the most valuable such prize among all past similar shows.
Check out a promo for "The X Factor" below.