Simon Cowell was known for being nasty and mean to aspiring singers on American Idol, but his final appearance on the show was a total lovefest.
The caustic judge was feted in film and in song during the season finale.
There was a montage of his meanest insults (“It sounded like cats jumping off the Empire State Building … just before they hit the floor”) and memorable exchanges with fellow judge Paula Abdul.
She returned to the show to pay respects to Simon, saying their work together ‘brought me immeasurable joy’.
“I love all the fun we had together, I love all the laughter we shared together,” she said, adding that the show “is not going to be the same without you, but as only I can tell you, it will go on”.
Comedian Dane Cook offered a musical tribute, melding Simon’s quips into a song.
“You have the honesty of Abe Lincoln and the charm of the guy who shot him,” Cook quipped.
Simon said he felt more emotional than he had anticipated on his final Idol episode.
“I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the support, the fun and your sense of humour,” he said. “That’s what’s been the best part.”
“It’s been a blast. Thank you.”