Simon Cowell refused to play favourites when asked if he preferred his American Idol judges over Louis and Sharon, but he upset his Idol co-stars anyway.

He was appearing at a special Q & A session for telly fans, held at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood. In front of his fellow Idol judges, Simon would only say: “We have our good days, we have a lot of bad days,” adding cockily: “I think they are in awe of me here…”

Naturally that didn’t go down too well with fellow judge Randy Jackson, who sarcastically replied: “Oh yeah?”

A shocked Paula Abdul added: “Is that what you think?”

But Randy had more important matters on his mind, and was keen to talk about X Factor’s latest winner Leona Lewis. “I like her, I like her,” he said, before saying within earshot of TV’s Mr Nasty: “I think Simon’s gonna let me sign her…”

It certainly looks as if Leona could be a success in the States, particularly if Randy’s praise is anything to go by.

American Idol’s host Ryan Seacrest asked him: “Do you think she’ll really make it here?”

Randy answered: “I think she’s got a really good shot to make it everywhere.”