Susan Boyle may have earned a pair of standing ovations this weekend, but Britain's Got Talent's head honcho and resident curmudgeon, Simon Cowell, has been humbled by the singer's fast-tracked plight.
The American Idol judge supplied Britain's Daily Mail with a lengthy editorial detailing the ways in which he failed the middle-aged songstress, and how he'll be treating the recent events as a learning experience.
"I'm the first to hold my hands up and admit I've made mistakes," he writes. "Looking back on it all, it has become clear to me that we didn't handle the situation with Susan as well as we could have."
In retrospect, however, he's not quite sure what he would change.
"To be honest, when I analyze exactly what happened, I don't know that I could have done it any differently," he says.
Several weeks after Boyle's first audition aired—and the subsequent YouTube video exploded—Cowell appeared on Oprah with the singer via satellite.
"She seemed fine with all the attention—I thought she was utterly charming and really thrilled about what happened. I thought—perhaps naively—that she was in control…I thought whatever happens, we have changed this lady's life."
It wasn't until the semifinals that Cowell began to receive calls that the 48-year-old's ability to handle the stress of newfound fame had gone south. Yet, even when he visited her just before the final, he was confident in her mental capacity.
"Even then, I didn't pick up on any unduly troubling signs," he writes. "She was nervous, yes, but no more nervous than Paul Potts had been before his live final two years previously."
When the international Internet sensation didn't win the Talent competition, the secretly sensitive Cowell felt uneasy.
"I looked over at her face and thought: 'Christ, she doesn't know how to deal with not winning.' It was a bad moment," he admits. "Afterwards, I went over and gave her a hug and tried to reassure her…we agreed that we would work together; that it wasn't the end of the road for her.
"After that, I left the studio. I remember having a drink that night and trying to relax, but still feeling a bit strange. Something just didn't feel right. And sure enough, it wasn't. No need to repeat details here—that wouldn't be fair to Susan."
The judge continues to reveal that he has spoken to Boyle's family, asking them if he and the other producers were wrong to allow her to move forward with the competition after she showed signs of stress.
"They said, unanimously, that we did the right thing," he claims.
The Brit goes on to question some of the choices regarding the overall production of the show, from allowing children participate to requiring more scrutinizing psychological screenings.
"There is no easy way of achieving fame, and no guaranteed or trusted way of dealing with it," he says. "Who has the right to ban Susan Boyle, or anyone like her, from trying to sing her way out of one life and into another?...Yes, there have been problems, but I think overall it is a positive experience for her. I'm glad we gave her this opportunity and—more importantly—I think Susan is as well."
In case you were curious, here are a few other choice words from his article we never thought we'd hear from Cowell: