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Lurching into its finale, the panel now includes Harry Connick Jr., Lopez and Urban.

KELLY CLARKSON AND CARRIE UNDERWOOD TO PERFORM AT 'AMERICAN IDOL' FINALE But it was Cowell’s role as “the mean judge” that set him apart — and was something that never really sat well with him, he said.

Sometimes Simon looked like he wanted to strap Paula up in a straitjacket, and sometimes Paula looked like she wanted to claw Simon's eyes out with her well-manicured nails, but they never seemed to lose their spark.

coming to an end after 15 seasons with an epic, three-night finale, let's take a look back at a few of the dynamic duos most telling moments that proved they were the best couple who were never actually a couple.

In 2001, Cowell teamed up with Simon Fuller to produce Britain's popular singing show "Pop Idol", the success of which preceded the debut of its US version, entitled "American Idol", the following year.

He served as one of the judges in both shows, with the latest successfully produced music stars, like Kelly Clarkson (2002), % c Jennifer (2004), Carrie Underwood (2005), and Jordin Sparks (2007).

Both women were then certain that they were the one for Ben, which led to a painful finale when the Bachelor harshly dumped Jo Jo Fletcher and chose Lauren Bushnell to be his bride.

Known for his scathing critical remarks as a judge on "American Idol", Simon Cowell began building his way into fame working at his father's company as a mailroom clerk at EMI Music Publishing while he was teen.

series finale on Thursday (April 7) at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

She quit the show in 2009 after failing to negotiate a new contract and he left in 2010 to produce “The X Factor.” 'AMERICAN IDOL' FAREWELL: PUNDITS AND BLOGGERS REFLECT ON 15 YEARS OF COVERING THE SHOW Cowell said he and Abdul were on “Idol” when it was at its most fun — and most successful and compared the judging panel he presided over to a healthy human body that suffered terribly after losing important appendages. And with both legs gone, it wasn't the same show." He added, “To be honest I think it changed more significantly once Paula left.

At least for me, the show was never the same because she and I had such a connection and such a shorthand together.” Cowell said he is still close with the other co-stars, Randy Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest.

In 1979, he earned a position as an assistant to an A&R executive and was subsequently promoted to become a talent scout.

He, however, left the company in the early 1980s to form E&S Music with his boss at EMI, Ellis Rich.

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