For nine seasons, the rude, rancorous spark that's made American Idol so engrossing has been Simon Cowell. The bitter barbs, the coy insults, the detached nipple-stroking…it's all part of the Cowell cocktail that's offset Paula's whack job muttering, Kara's ineffectual gushing and the predictable yo-dawging of Randy. Last night, however, the tetchy Simon you love to hate was mysteriously missing. 

According to insider Soup sources, the man posing as Cowell on the judging panel was genial look-alike Reg Dilk, a British kitten groomer.

"Don't worry," stated an anonymous Idol rep. "The real Cowell has locked himself in his mansion with tape loops of Siobhan Magnus screeching high notes to raise his bile levels for X Factor."

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There's plenty more weirdly inexplicable goings-on in the Soup blog video gallery.

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