"I got a bit too cocky. We got a big wake-up call. We went into 2011 thinking, 'It's all going to be easy' and of course it wasn't. It was the year my ego was put in check… We all got a bit smug last year, I certainly got a bit too cocky. I ended 2010 on a real high, it was the Matt Cardle year - my favourite year - and the figures for X Factor were huge."
But then things went tits up with that Ronan Parke incident, some girlfriend beater winning Red Or Black (which was a ridiculous show regardless), and the judging panels for BGT and UK X Factor being a little ropey. And then he failed to net the required 20million viewers for the US X Factor. Diddums. Oh, and then there was that sparsely reported Cheryl business.
So what's he doing this year? He's poached Alesha Dixon from Strictly Come Dancing for Britain's Got Talent, the winner of which he's going to blast into space thanks to Virgin Galactic. That's not cocky at all.
Simon said: "Richard Branson is the sponsor of the show with Virgin. We are trying to work out a way so that the winner of the show gets to go up in the spacecraft and will be the first person to perform in space. I'm being serious. You could be the first singer or dog act, whatever, performing in space. I would go on the spaceship myself - you have to have a lot of training. I love the idea that, if they are up for it, then they have the option of performing in front of the whole planet in space. I think it's great. Of course we have to think about the details, I mean, if you're a juggler then we'll need to make heavier balls… But I will make it happen. If it had been a few years ago Susan Boyle could have been singing Unchained Melody in front of the whole planet."
And freaking the f**k out no doubt. Performing in front of a nationwide TV audience is one thing, but being hurled into space with an inordinate amount of heavy balls to "perform in front of the planet" is vomit inducing on many levels.
Of poaching Alesha, he added: "When I was in America I'd read about the ratings battles going on here and I did think Strictly were getting a bit smug. They did great. The funny thing was my trailer was next to Bruno Tonioli's in America. I'd see him arriving in LA looking smug. He's a good friend but we were winding each other up… We all begrudgingly shake hands when we see each other. You don't do anything for second place. But the Alesha thing was kind of fun. My decision to poach her was 70-30 on the fact she was on Strictly and the fact I liked her. I knew the BBC was putting on The Voice. They've done this to have a pop at The X Factor and to have a go at the BGT ratings. The Voice must have cost them at least £30million, but I've got Alesha now. I like the fact this is now a competition with the BBC and it makes us work harder. The show will be better as a result."
No pressure, Alesha.
In other news, Simon Cowell's still "engaged"...