12/17/2013 01:37 EST

Is Simon Cowell Leaving 'The X Factor' Next Season?

NBC via Getty Images
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4578 -- Pictured: Simon Cowell during an interview on December 9, 2013 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

As a die-hard fan of "The X Factor," the reason I tune in -- aside from the music, of course -- is Simon Cowell.

I know, I know, like the guy doesn't have a big enough head, but I would say 98 percent of the time, I am in complete agreement with everything he has to say, about his own team and about the acts in the other groups. Demi Lovato and Kelly Rowland are hit or miss (sometimes their comments actually have merit; other times they sound catty and bitter), but Paulina Rubio is ... sigh. There are no words, other than the fact that she is completely and totally fast-forwardable. Her input, to her boys, or to the competition, is simply unnecessary and nonsensical.

Cowell says he doesn't want the same judging panel, and I tend to agree. I'm not sure if the show needs to change up the judges every season but I think it's safe to say one, in particular, does absolutely nothing for the show. But while the show has mixed up the judges each year, the one constant has been Cowell. If that changes, I'm not sure the series stands a chance at survival. But that's still a question -- will "The X Factor" return for another season, despite its low ratings? As far as Cowell is concerned, he believes yes.

"The show will be back next season," Cowell told the media during a conference call on Monday. But with speculation that he'll go back to judging the U.K.'s version, the show's producer, judge and mentor hinted that his duties may change.

"As for my role on it, I might have a different kind of role, we haven't discussed that yet." Um, what? He backtracked, saying he wasn't "necessarily saying that" he wouldn't judge, but Cowell acknowledged that changes need to be made for the series to compete with the other singing competitions out there.

"We've got to be more different next year than we were this year," he admitted. "We're in the middle of a presentation with Fox [of] what we think the show should like, this is what we think the fans will like and, yes, my role could change."

With the two-night, four-hour finale right around the corner -- which features Jeff Gutt, Alex and Sierra, and Carlito Olivero fighting for a recording contract and $1 million -- Cowell was as frank as ever, revealing what he liked about the season (the four-chair section; the last few weeks of live shows), and what he thought was just OK (the show's start; the early live shows). Perhaps "The X Factor" could follow in "Dancing With The Stars" footsteps and drop down to one night a week. Cowell even conceded that it was a possibility, and though he wouldn't specify which night, it sounded like there was one day he was eyeing.

"I won't say which night but I think there's a better night for us," he divulged. "If we can get it, I think that would be amazing."

Does "The X Factor" need an overhaul? Most definitely. And while Simon not being on the judges' panel may save the show money, whether you love him or hate him, he is arguably the series' biggest draw. It's his opinion people value the most, his eye rolls viewers want to see, his comments we want to hear, his approval contestants seek above anyone else. Without him on the panel would change the entire dynamic, and though that may be what they're looking to do, Simon's absence would be a huge mistake.

But let's get to the nitty-gritty: the final three. Perhaps what I love most is how diverse all three acts are. The Gutt is a powerhouse with that gruff register of his, not to mention he has a great back story and his son is freakin' adorable. Carlito performs like no one else (OK, well, maybe like Ellona Santiago) and his love for his family makes him so rootable. But it's Alex and Sierra who have had my vote from the first time we saw them. Aside from their gorgeous voices (and their gorgeous faces), the way they look at each other while they're singing (like there's no one else is in the room), makes even those with ice water running through their veins smile and feel good. They are simply magical, a true force to be reckoned with and I think it's safe to say they will never have scrounge for taco money ever again. I would love to say that I would be OK if any of them took the prize but that would be a lie. Obviously I'm rooting for Alex and Sierra, but I won't be totally disappointed if Jeff is crowned the winner. Honestly, though, they've all already won. Even if they don't "win" win, they all have bright futures ahead of them.

We'll have to wait and see what the future holds for "The X Factor," and for Simon Cowell's role on the show.

"The X Factor" live performance show airs Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. EST and the live season finale airs Thursday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox in the U.S. and CTV Two.

The X Factor