Confirmed: Simon Cowell to Leave American Idol

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Earlier today, Randy Jackson said he hopes the American Idol focus soon shifts from the judging table to the singing stage.

That may be difficult after today's announcement: Simon Cowell has confirmed that he's leaving the series after this season.

At a gathering of the country's TV critics in California, Cowell said he's bringing his popular UK show The X Factor to the United States in 2011.

“We did talk about me staying on both shows, but when we looked at the practicalities of that, it was impossible,” Cowell said. “In my opinion, it’s like having a good player and a good football team. The two have to be okay together. I believe it’s not my show, but it’s still very close to me... I’m confident [American Idol] will continue to be the No. 1 show. Everyone is committed to keeping it that way.”

Simon Photograph

The X Factor is almost identical to Idol, except that groups are allowed to enter the singing competition and there's no age limit on contestants. Leona Lewis was crowned its champion one season, launching her successful career.

Is there really room for it and Idol to air simultaneously? And, more pressingly, will you even watch American Idol without Simon Cowell as a judge?

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American Idol Quotes

Brooke White's tears come from the authentic, good soul that she is. Her heart was breaking because she was overwhelmed with the experience she had with the show and the gift that it brought.

Paula Abdul [after Brooke White was eliminated on season seven]

I read some of this online this morning and just for the record, the rumors — they’re not true. She’s part of our family and we love her.

Ryan Seacrest [on rumor of Paula Abdul being drunk on the show]