Simon Cowell Talks 'American Idol' Cancellation & Has Nothing But Love For The Series

The musical reality TV competition, American Idol , will be ending after 15 seasons, and news of its cancellation may be offering many a longtime fan some nostalgic reveries. The series has undergone many rotations with its judges over the years, experienced more than a few instances of on-and-off set drama (then again, what reality TV show hasn't?), and catapulted several of its contestants to international fame — Carrie Underwood, Katharine McPhee, and Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson are just a few big names that got their start on Idol. The final season of Idol is poised to take fans on a trip down a road marked "nostalgia," and there's no doubt that one name will be prominent when recalling Idol's early years: Simon Cowell.

One of the original judges, Cowell was one of the focal points during the advent of the series, and certainly stirred a bit of controversy. Oft acerbically cut-throat in his criticisms of contestants, Cowell never had an issue speaking his mind. Throughout what many considered vitriolic at times, Cowell's assessments were also marked with various moments of praise for the singers he was set to judge, and his "tough love" approach led some contestants to push themselves harder, arguably inching them closer to reaching their potential and subsequent fame.

As Idol prepares for its swan song (pun very much intended), Cowell had nothing but kind words to offer when asked about his thoughts on the series' cancellation, as well as his time contributing to the show's fabric for nearly a decade. Cowell told PEOPLE in an exclusive statement:

"We had a blast! Me, Paula, Randy, Ryan – and not forgetting Brian. Thanks to the fans we were able to make some great shows and found some amazing artists. Fox took a risk on a brand new show and I want to thank them for giving us the opportunity. They really were great times.”

It's nice to see one of Idol's most notable judges offer such kind accolades, and I'd be willing to bet we'll be hearing the name "Simon Cowell" quite frequently during the series' final season.