Ahead of Wednesday's premiere of The X Factor, Simon Cowell is in full promotional mode. Tonight's PR pit stop brought Cowell to The Tonight Show, where he shared some brutally honest opinions of his three X Factor co-judges to Jay Leno.

Of his first co-judge, former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, Cowell said, "She is fantastically self-centered... actually nuts. Every city she went to, she developed a different accent." (By the way, the accent thing—as I pointed out nearly two years ago—is totally true.) Regarding record exec L.A. Reid, Cowell offered, "I've kind of met my match with him... he's very, very difficult to work with. Very petty."

But Cowell saved his best, most affectionate putdown for last, of course, with the following quip about Paula Abdul:

"Paula is like... if you've lost your dog and it goes to the pound, and then the pound calls you to say 'We found your dog, will you come to collect it?' Imagine that emotion when the dog sees its owner again."

Now that's the Simon Cowell we've been missing!