In his first TV interview since announcing on Monday that he’ll be leaving American Idol at the end of the new season, hard-hearted judge Simon Cowell confesses that he got “emotional” about the decision.

“It did feel a little bit emotional,” Simon confesses to Extra about today’s shocking news. “Because then it’s real… and then you remember all the good times you had.”

“I’ve been doing this for nine years and it’s been a blast,” the acid-tongued Brit admits about his time on the hit Fox show.

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Simon also revealed that the deal that has him leaving Idol to bring his other UK hit, X Factor, across the pond to the U.S., almost didn’t happen in time for today’s press conference. “We agreed to the deal at half past eleven this morning,” he explains. “The press conference was scheduled for 12:00pm… It literally was as down to the wire as that.”

Cowell admits to having considered the idea of juggling both Idol and X Factor, but opted instead to “concentrate on one main show.”

As for how his Idol cohorts are reacting to the news, Simon jokes, “I heard a lot of popping champagne bottles,” and that “there will be fireworks display outside [Ryan Seacrest‘s] house tonight.”

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