He's earned a reputation for being "the mean judge" on every one of his shows, but once in a while Simon Cowell likes to let his guard down and show his softer side.
1. Remembering his mother
Josh Daniel's cover of "Jealous" on the X Factor brought the audience to tears, but it had a surprising impact on Cowell as well. The judge revealed that the song reminded him of his late mother Julie, who passed away in 2015.
"It was quite near when it all happened and I think it was the last audition and I wasn't really expecting what happened," he revealed on a talk show. "And of course the lyrics of the song and it was quite difficult because I thought, 'God this is going to be really hard to sit through this.'"
2. Hitting the Golden Buzzer
Simon has become famous for his brutally honest put-downs, but he also recognizes when performers have something special, and he's not afraid to say so. Maybe he's getting softer as he ages, because this year he's hit the Golden Buzzer twice.
Deaf singer Mandy Harvey blew Simon away with her performance, and he didn't hesitate to send her to the next round. Across the pond, Britain's Got Talent contestant Sarah Ikumu channeled Jennifer Hudson in the first week of auditions, and you can see Simon's face light up as she performs.
3. Spending time with his dogs
Maybe Simon just gets along better with animals than with other people, because he has nothing but love for his Yorkshire Terriers Freddie, Squiddly and Diddly. “I love my dogs so much," Simon told US Weekly.
"I take them on holidays, I let them sleep in the bed and sometimes one gets in the bath with me." He's even considered cloning his dogs after they pass away to keep them forever. Now that is love!
4. Comforting a young contestant
Simon doesn't normally feel bad about upsetting contestants, but one little girl from Britain's Got Talent pulled on his heartstrings. After a buzzer from Piers Morgan, Cowell brought the crying girl back on stage for some adorable revenge.
See Simon fight for a contestant on the next page!
5. Paying for a contestant's surgery
Teenage dance troupe MerseyGirls were competing on Britain's Got Talent with the hopes of using their prize money to pay for 15-year-old member Julia Carlile's surgery. The young dancer suffers from Scoliosis, or a curved spine. The girls were heartbroken when they lost but Cowell stepped in to save the day.
The judge paid for Carlile's surgery in America, which cost more than $100,000. “There’s no way I would ever have her [Julia] on this show and say, it’s all just about winning the £250,000," he told the Sun, “there’s no way I would ever say: ‘Right, you came second, so it’s all over’.”
6. The family man
Outside of work, Simon and his girlfriend Lauren Silverman love to spoil their son Eric, and Cowell is all smiles whenever they're together. It just goes to show that even a grouch like Simon can't stay mad around an adorable little kid.
7. Standing up for a contestant
When Simon took to the stage to defend dog trainer Sara Carson and her pooch Hero, his fellow America's Got Talent judges were stunned. The "cold-hearted" Brit gave Carson a hug while arguing with the panel to keep her in the competition.
“I saw something you didn’t see," he told Howie Mandel, "I’ve never seen a dog have a sword fight with his owner before...I don’t think they quite understood what you did.” Of course, after a demonstration like that it's no surprise the pair went on to the next round!
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