X Factor Judges

Ray Mickshaw / FOX

Even though Fox's The X Factor is technically about finding the next great musical act, it seems that most of the focus is on the superstar judging panel of Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, L.A. Reid and Demi Lovato. As this season begins to wind down, the looming question on everyone's mind is: Who will be back next year?

We chatted with Cowell about that very subject and he was very candid about the future of his judging panel. As of right now, L.A. Reid is the only one exiting the show, a fact that Cowell all but confirmed. 

"I'm sad because he's a friend, but when someone feels they're neglecting something, which he obviously felt he was, then you've got to get someone else in who can give you the time and commitment you need," Cowell says about Reid leaving X Factor. "And I've never been afraid of change on any of these shows."

Since Cowell is pro-change, does this mean he's also getting rid of Britney, too?

"I don't know yet, to be honest with you," Cowell tells us about Britney returning. "I haven't had the conversation with her whether she'd want to, what other commitments she's got." However, when we asked if he wants her back, Cowell was pretty much all for it.

"Yeah, I think I do, yeah. But like I said, and it goes back to L.A., it all depends on how much time they can give us."

After Cowell told us how much he hated and loved sparring with fellow judge Lovato, we had to wonder if he wanted someone he found so difficult back on the show. It seems she is welcome back, but with one condition.

"With a muzzle," Cowell jokes. "I know that she wants to come back, but I don't like to make predictions. We'll give it a couple weeks. "

To hear more from Cowell about texting with One Direction and working with a legend like Britney, watch our exclusive clip below.

See Terrence Jenkins' full interview with Simon Cowell on E! News, Thursday at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

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