The man who signed Avril Lavigne unequivocally admits that appearing on the X Factor was “the worst thing I’ve ever done.”

Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid appeared as a judge and mentor from 2011 to 2012. So who did Reid, who’s also mentored Usher, TLC, Mariah Carey and Rihanna, end up with? A damn country singer. Why even bother? Maybe the guy won, maybe he didn’t—I don’t know. I didn’t watch, or care, and I bet you didn’t either.

L.A. Reid knows this:

“It’s the worst thing I’ve ever done,” Reid said at a Pepsi-sponsored Midem breakfast chat on Saturday, June 6 in Cannes.

“And more importantly, it really affected my taste — it almost destroyed it,” he continued.

“It completely threw me off — by the way, I have a book coming out soon, and it’ll all be on my book,” he interjected with a laugh.

“But yeah, what works for television isn’t necessarily the thing that works in the traditional journey of music, so I adjusted my taste for television. But the truth is, I lowered my bar — my bar was quite high, if I’m being honest, and as a result I didn’t have the same level of success. The bar is quite high again now, but it was damaging. I worked with Simon Cowell, who I love and have great respect for and he has great taste, but being around him for that long, I started to take on his taste, and I’m an amateur at having his taste — I’m good at my kind of taste.”

More on how the X Factor is garbage, in Reid’s new book—coming out soon. Also: ice still cold. Gravity still working. These shorts still too short.

Even so, Reid apparently felt obligated to walk back his perfectly valid observations.

The comments “were not meant to reflect on Simon Cowell, the X Factor, or its successes”—but can you insult something that doesn’t exist?

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