Multiple sources, none more important than the man himself, confirmed today that Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol after this season, which starts Tuesday.

Cowell is regularly chastised for his heavy-handed treatment of contestants on the popular singing show, but is also routinely recognized as the most accurate judge.

Sonic Clash readers shouldn’t dig too deeply into the tea leaves on this one.  The 50 year old music magnate is the executive producer of the wildly popular show The X Factor, a phrase he tries to insert into Idol commentary every so often.  His Idol contract included a non-compete clause and when Cowell couldn’t get traction on having that clause waived, he announced he would let his contract lapse and bring an American version of The X Factor to Fox.

As with most things, Cowell’s decision appears to be financially influenced.  As the defacto star of American Idol, Cowell’s compensation is lucrative, but nowhere near as lucrative as executive-producing his own show.  We see this same trend in bands all the time.  The band members who write the songs make more money — a lot more money — than those who only perform.

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