Simon Cowell Admits He Was 'Really Upset' Over Initial Lackluster 'AGT' Season 17 Auditions (Exclusive)

Simon Cowell
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The longtime judge opened up to ET about the upcoming season of 'America's Got Talent.'

Simon Cowell has high hopes for the new crop of impressive hopefuls on the upcoming season of America's Got Talent. However, the outspoken judge says the auditions didn't fill him with confidence at the start.

Cowell -- who rocked a brace bandage on his hand from when he broke his arm earlier this year -- spoke with ET's Matt Cohen on the red carpet at the AGT Season 17 Kick-Off event at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Wednesday, and opened up about his initial misgivings over the level of talent this season.

"When [taping] first started -- you know, I am always expecting, always hoping, the show can or should should be better year on year. But the first two days really were horrific, and I really thought we had an issue," Cowell candidly shared. "Just nobody was any good. It was terrible and I was really upset."

"Everybody kept saying, 'No, no, no, I promise you, There is much better to come.' And I thought, 'Maybe we're just out of sync this year,'" Cowell continued. "And then by day three, it all turned. It just went great."

Cowell said that, from that turning point on, "Everyday, it got better better and better."

"Once the show is edited, I think the [season] could be better than last year," Cowell shared. "And that's my thing, I like to get better each year."

Fans will get a chance to see how the auditions went when America's Got Talent season 17 premieres on May 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

Cowell also spoke with ET about American Idol's recent 20th anniversary. Cowell was an original judge on the show alongside Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. Though he said he wouldn't be making an appearance on the show for its 20th season, he had nothing but good things to say about the long-running singing competition that featured such superstars as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.

"Well, you know, I have happy memories," he shared. "In fact, I am seeing Kelly Clarkson tomorrow. I am doing her show and I am still friends with a lot of the contestants from those early years. We had so much fun when we made that show together. ... It was just brilliant and it still survived, so good luck to them."