"I'm taunting Paula throughout the performance," Cowell explains on Monday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "I'm saying to her, 'Try to say something interesting, try not to use the words mountain and lakes in your critiques because it's always: You'll climb mountains, you'll swim lakes, whatever.' "
So how can he judge the contestants if he's so busy bugging Abdul? "I'll tell you a secret," he says. "I watch the dress run so I actually hear much, much easier what they really do sound like."