Simon Cowell On X Factor USA Controversy: 'I Wanted To See Who Demi Lovato Would Destroy'

He has been criticised for 'bullying' the 20-year-old mentor

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Simon Cowell has joked about this week's X Factor USA elimination, which led to many viewers accusing him of "bullying" colleague Demi Lovato.

When the former 'Camp Rock' star had two of her acts, Paige Thomas and Jennel Garcia, in the bottom two, he refused to vote before he had seen Lovato "squirm" and choose between her them.

When LA Reid and Britney Spears both opted to eliminate Jennel, Simon flatly refused to say who he would vote for, leading host Mario Lopez to obey. But when Lovato tried to bat it back to the head judge, Lopez didn't let her.

She eventually opted to send Paige home, before Simon delivered the final blow to Jennel.

Simon told E! News afterwards: "I knew I was going to keep Paige, which meant that [Demi] wouldn't have had to make the decision. I thought, 'Bearing in mind they're both your artists, I want to see which one you're going to destroy career-[wise]'.

"It was just fun to see her squirming. She thought she was going to get out of it and I said, 'You're not'."

Viewers lashed out at the mogul on Twitter, YouTube and on message-boards, slamming him for "bullying" Demi.

She, however, has stood by her decision to pick Jennel over Paige. She said: "I picked Paige because I genuinely think that Jennel is just more talented. I think Paige has more star quality, which is going to help her, but Jennel definitely didn't deserve to go home."

Paige's mentoring session will be awkward this week...

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