"American Idol's" Simon Cowell showed his snark for the last time on Wednesday night at the show's season finale – and his fellow judges told AccessHollywood.com's Laura Saltman backstage that they'd miss the curmudgeonly judge as he moves on to "X Factor."
"It's definitely a tough thing," Randy Jackson, the only other remaining original judge of the show, told Laura. "He's one of my dearest friends in the world. I love him to death and, you know, he got us all into this."
Regardless of who replaces Simon at the judges' table, Randy said that the show won't be the same without Simon.
"'American Idol' will still exist, but it won't be quite the same show," he said. "It's just gonna have to be a different show."
Still, he said he's excited for "Idol's" future, especially after seeing winner and runner-up Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox rise to the top.
"Crystal and Lee, they were very indie kids. So, in Hollywood week, we all talked about the fact that these are kids that would have never tried out for the show. They were so indie and so different," he said. "So, to see those two in the final was very enlightening and it bodes well for the future of 'Idol.'"
Kara DioGuardi was also optimistic about a Simon-free future.
"I think it's a different show [without Simon] but I do think that at the core of the show, it's about talent and it's about discovering people who would never have a shot at being in the music business," she told Laura. "There's something very compelling about finding a contestant who didn't even know they could really sing that well and bringing them to the forefront of 25 million people and having America root for them. It's pretty powerful."
She added that the sharp-tongued judge's farewell speech during the show was "graceful and gracious."
"Just the way he said that really no matter who replaces me it's really about America and who they vote for, and I thought that was really what the heart of the show is all about," Kara said. "That it is America's show. We're just there to guide."
Copyright 2010 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Related Content from AccessHollywood.com:
PLAY IT NOW: Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi & Paula Abdul Say 'Goodbye' To Simon Cowell During Season 9 Finale
PLAY IT NOW: Dish Of Salt: Kara DioGuardi On 'Idol' Finale: 'It Was A Smart Decision' Not To Sing An Original 'Winner's Song'