I didn't think we'd ever hear Simon Cowell amdmit to what he's going to admit to Monday night on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight program.  Simon says, "I personally think it is a better show than last year...they've got their energy back.  They're confident.  They're competitive....I think it's a good show."

See part of the interview after the jump.

This is the first time he's made a comment like this since the new season of American Idol kicked off and it's the first season without him.

Piers then points out to Simon that the new judging panel, with Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson, seems to have more chemistry than the four-person panel last year, that included Simon, Randy, Ellen DeGeneres, and Kara DioGuardi.  And Simon agrees.  He says, "Yeah, that's true....I always think of Idol, really, as me, Paula and Randy. And, y'know, I think when other people were brought in and Paula wasn't there, it was, to me, like being on a different show."  He said doing season nine, after announcing he was leaving, was just "a weird atmosphere."

Simon's new show, The X Factor, debuts this fall on Fox.