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Simon Cowell to duck Britain's Got Talent auditions

Simon Cowell will not be doing the Britain's Got Talent auditions next year.

The TV judge, 50, told Reveal magazine he would "eventually leave" the ITV show.

He said: "I won't be doing the BGT auditions next year. I will join the show at the semi-final stage. I will eventually leave but nothing is decided yet. We launch US X Factor next year too which is a huge challenge."

Cowell hinted recently that he might skip the audition stages of the hit ITV show, featuring Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan as fellow judges, saying: "I like the show but it takes a hell of a lot of time. You sit there watching horrific acts and you think, 'I genuinely can't do this any more'.

"I am considering next year, coming in for the semi-finals, just the studio bit. Can I see the show without me? Yes, it can work without me."

Cowell also hit back after criticism from the mother of former Britain's Got Talent finalist Hollie Steel.

The 11-year-old broke down in tears as she sang for the judges on last year's live shows and finished in sixth place but did not land a record deal. Her mother reportedly said she was "dropped like a penny" by the management company after the show ended.

But Cowell told Reveal: "Last year's finalist Hollie Steel's mum has been saying certain things about the show. But kids aren't dragged on the show - parents bring them.

"Kids are aways going to be disappointed if they don't win. Most of the kids I've seen during auditions had a blast. If I thought they weren't enjoying themselves I'd do something about it."