Simon Cowell's "X Factor" finalists, girl group Fifth Harmony, placed third on Thursday night's finale, and although the Brit is still licking his wounds from the loss, he's pleased Tate Stevens took home the prize.
"It was a bit annoying when I heard [they placed third], but as soon as we were out, then another part of you kicks in and it's actually [like] who do I want to win? Who deserves to win? If I'm being honest, it was [Tate]," Simon told Access Hollywood following the Season 2 finale, where the country singer beat out Britney Spears' finalist, 13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar.
"America got it right. [Tate] has got a great story, he's a great guy," he continued. "Someone told me he couldn't pay his electricity bill a month ago, you know? So it puts it into perspective-- what this will actually do for him."
With the second season wrapped, Access asked Simon if he has begun to plan for Season 3.
"Oh my God. How about I take a year off?" he joked. "No, that's not gonna happen. I'll just take a break and I feel really good about the ending tonight."
Adding, "As [I] said, I think America got it right. And I think that the fact the show can discover somebody like him [and] change his life of the better, I feel like Father Christmas!"
L.A. Reid will not be returning as a judge for the third season, and Simon said he has absolutely "no idea" who he wants to replace him - nor he does know if Britney Spears and Demi Lovato will sign on again.
"No idea," he said, when asked which judges will return. "I mean, we have those conversations in January -- with a clearer head."
-- Erin O'Sullivan
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