So it turns out that even the meanest man on television thinks that, sometimes, he goes too far.

Simon Cowell has told Parade.com that he wishes he hadn’t sent some talent show hopefuls away in tears — but, by the sound of it, not many.

The American Idol judge says that bad singing deserves no mercy, but that he needs to remember that there are some days when everyone needs to be cut a little slack.

“There are times when you’ve had a long day, you’re bored and somebody comes in and you’re very dismissive.

"Then you watch it back six months later and they’re going, ‘My dog died yesterday. I’m singing this in memory of Lassie.’

"And then you cut to me and I’m like, ‘Get out, you’re terrible.’ So I might take a few back if I’d paid more attention to the back-story.”

Anyway, he explained to the Web site, he’s only mean because he’s too nice to be nice! The Englishman says that he would "feel guilty" about telling the occasional little white lie.

“No one gave me any handouts when I started. I had to work my way up," he said.

"I certainly learned more when people criticized me than when they lied to me and said what I was doing was right.

"You cannot survive in this business unless you know when you’ve made a mistake. So I would feel guilty about giving people fake hope when I genuinely believe they have no chance.”

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