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The music mogul was seen breaking down on ITV talent show, when Josh Daniel auditioned with Labrinth’s song ‘Jealous’, which he dedicated to his late best friend.
Simon was choked up and unable to speak and offer feedback to the contestant, and quickly left the panel at the end of the audition.
Backstage footage then showed fellow judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in tears as she toyed with whether to chase after an emotional Simon, or leave him be.
Speaking to The Sun of the heart-wrenching scenes, Simon said: “They were very cautious about showing the footage to me in the first place for obvious reasons. But then you’ve got to take your personal hat off and put on your producer’s hat, because what happened and it’s not fair on the contestant not to show it.
“You can’t censor stuff like that. In the end I kind of just said to them, ‘I’m OK with it’, but I don’t want to approve anything, I’ll let you make your decision as to what is acceptable and what isn’t.”
Simon admitted he also found it hard to watch the episode, continuing: “Then, when I watched it on the show, it was very difficult to watch back, but that’s just what happens when you make one of these shows.
“Of course, it brought it all back. It is a very difficult thing to know what to do. The contestant didn’t know the situation. He wasn’t doing it to make me upset. He sang the song for his own reasons.
"It was more important that he did a good audition. But it was very raw and it did take me back to the moment, but I think in quite a healthy way. Being upset is a human thing.”
Simon’s mother, Julie Brett, died just days before filming began on the new series of ‘The X Factor’ in July, aged 89 after suffering a stroke.
“I know it sounds like a cliché, but having such a strong bond with my mum meant I knew exactly what she'd have said. It would have been, 'This is your show, you love the show, go back and do your job',” he said.
"I'm not going to lie, there were times it was incredibly difficult, but then there were other times I was able to switch my mind off and concentrate on what was happening and the contestants."
‘The X Factor’ continues tonight (5 September) at 8.15pm on ITV.