'X Factor' Exclusive: Simon Cowell 'Felt Sorry' For Astro

'It had to be said because I think everyone at home was thinking that,' Cowell tells MTV News of his harsh critique.

Simon Cowell has never been one to bite his tongue. However, it appears as if the British music mogul has had a change of heart about some harsh words he dished to 15-year-old contestant Astro on last week's "X Factor" elimination episode. The finalist had offered the audience a rather bitter response to his bottom-two placement by refusing to sing for his life.

MTV News' own Jim Cantiello sat down with Cowell recently and chatted about the much-talked-about results show, which sent 42-year old songstress Stacy Francis packing and saved the teen rapper.

"I gotta say, on the night, I was really annoyed, and not for anything else other than for him," the judge said. "And then I watched it back that night, and then I felt sorry for him."

While Cowell admitted that he felt "a bit" bad that he came down so hard on the pint-size MC after the broadcast, he explained that it was necessary because "everyone at home was thinking that."

"I think if I had been light on him, I think it would have been worse for him because I think it made him aware of how he was coming across," he continued.

And as viewers saw, Simon was anything but light on the contestant during the elimination round. After Astro announced that he didn't want to perform before the judges' make-or-break decision, Cowell responded by saying, "Look at me, and think about your mum watching the show. Because you are showing disrespect to your mom. You are showing disrespect to the audience at home, and I don't like people with this attitude."

Astro appeared to be in better spirits the following day when he took to Twitter, writing, "Good morning #teamASTRO I had a 'fight the system' moment last night. Sorry if I disappointed you guys. I WILL make you all proud next week!"

Do you think Simon was too harsh on Astro last week? Let us know in the comments.