"I personally think it is a better show than last year," the acerbic former host tells Piers Morgan in an interview set to air March 14. "I genuinely do. I think what they've got is that it feels to me that they've got their energy back, that they're confident, that they're competitive."
In the clip from Piers Morgan Tonight, Cowell also discussed why last season didn't work. He says the new combination of judges (namely the loss of Paula Abdul and the addition of Ellen DeGeneres) created a "weird atmosphere" for the competition.
"I always think of Idol really as me, Paula, and Randy [Jackson]," he tells Morgan. "And I think when other people were brought in, and Paula wasn't there, it was, to me, like being on a different show."
Watch the clip:
Do you agree with Cowell?