Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People of the Year - 2011

Slideshow posted in Photos | Thursday, December 15, 2011

2 of 10: Simon Cowell
This record mogul is a former longtime judge of 'American Idol' who launched a similar singing contest series, 'The X Factor,' on FOX earlier this year. He is one of four judges on the show and remains the most acerbic.

Cowell talked to Barbara Walters about his feelings about his former 'American Idol' co-star Paula Abdul, who reunited with him to serve as his co-judge on 'The X Factor.' The two were often seen sparring on the air.

'We didn't like each other at the beginning,' he said, adding jokingly: 'I think it was sexual tension. On her part.'

When Walters asked if he thinks Abdul 'wanted him,' Cowell said: 'A million percent. I considered it, but then I thought, I don't think the after would be as good as the before. I'd let her stay for a few hours, but then it would have to be goodnight.'
Cowell has joked about the matter before. He told People magazine in August about how he bought Abdul to 'The X Factor,' saying: 'It's like owning a dog and the dog will only sit next to its master.' Abdul said after she joined the program that it was 'great' to be around Cowell again, adding: 'Simon and I got over the honeymoon period very quickly! Back to our good old relationship!'

Cowell, who is worth about $320 million, told Walters that the biggest misconception about him is that he doesn't like people, adding: 'I like people. I can normally tell by looking in people's eyes whether they're a nice person or not so when I'm mean, it's because I normally see something.'

He added: 'I like winning.'

Cowell also named his biggest fears.

'Failure and being unhappy,' he said. 'Being bored. I really, really get bored. And I don't like small talk. And I'm claustrophobic.'

(Pictured: Simon Cowell appears in a promo for 'The X Factor,' which debuted on FOX on Sept. 21, 2011.) (FOX)