Simon Cowell Reacts To Whitney Houston Death; Says He Planned To Consider Her As 'X Factor' Judge

Simon Cowell says the team behind "The X Factor" had planned to discuss Whitney Houston as a possible judge for the FOX reality singing competition on Monday.

Reacting to the news of the pop superstar's untimely death on Saturday at the age of 48, in Beverly Hills, Simon said, contrary to the rumors, she had not been approached, but he suggested he thought she might be interested.

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"The rumors that had got back to us... and that's often what happens when people want to be on these shows, you know, somebody tells someone to get the word out, it's normally a sign that they are interested," Simon told Piers Morgan on CNN on Saturday night.

And Simon admitted his team planned to discuss the icon as a potential "X Factor" judge, but had not gotten to the point of approaching her.

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"We were ironically going to meet on Monday and of course one of the names we were going to be talking about in that meeting as a possible mentor on the new series of ' X Factor' was actually going to be Whitney Houston.

"I have no idea genuinely whether she really was that interested or whether she would have..." Simon trailed off. "Given the choice, I would have liked to have taken her under my wing as well, because she would have been the ultimate, ultimate mentor to any contestant coming on the show."

Simon said Whitney was the superstar that contestant after contestant over the years on his reality shows has tried to emulate.

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"Whitney -- ever since I've been doing this job, particularly doing talent shows over the last 10 years, the No. 1 singer anyone ever wanted to emulate, if they really wanted to be a superstar, it was always Whitney," Simon said. "We would hear Whitney songs over and over again. She was the benchmark, she truly was."

The reality show boss said he was crushed by her death.

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"You're going to remember where you were when you heard the news. It's that significant... I am absolutely devastated by this news," he said. "I am so sad for her. She was [undoubtedly] one of the greatest superstars of all time, one of the greatest voices in our life time we're likely ever to hear. To hear this news, it really, really, really upset me. It really has."

Copyright 2012 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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