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IMAGE: Simon Cowell
Mario Anzuoni  /  REUTERS
"The X Factor's" biggest fan remains Simon Cowell, but he's going to need 19,999,999 more to hit his projected ratings numbers.
Access Hollywood
updated 10/4/2011 7:43:24 AM ET 2011-10-04T11:43:24

Simon Cowell tells Access Hollywood he was misunderstood when he told a trade magazine he’d consider it a “disappointment” if “The X Factor” didn’t pull in 20 million viewers on its first outing on FOX.

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“That was a slight misunderstanding. I wasn’t saying I want 20 million for the first episode. I said we wanna hit 20 million,” Simon told Access, attempting to cast a new light on his previous comments to The Hollywood Reporter.

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“Of course that went out there and I thought, ‘I have really opened my big mouth here because anything now under 20 is a disaster,’ ” he added. “As much as people want you to succeed, there’s a ton of people that want you to fail and I took a bit in the neck that first day.”

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Simon did, however, tell Access he predicts “The X Factor” will draw in 20 million viewers at some point.

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“I do believe — in time, because I believe in the show — we’re gonna hit those numbers,” he told Access.

“You’ve gotta remember — this is a new show,” he added.

In addition to commenting on those number predictions, Simon also offered a further description of what “D.O.A.,” which he recently used with L.A. Reid during the audition rounds, means.

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“We use this expression on the show ‘D.O.A.’ — Dead On Arrival. Anyone under the age of 21 who’s cute, who’s got talent (and is) female (is)] not gonna get through,” he said, referring to what he and L.A. say between themselves when Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger veto a female contestant.

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“The X Factor” returns for its third week of episodes on Wednesday at 8/7 on FOX.

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