Simon Cowell Tells Jay Leno: Spice Girls Were My Biggest Career Regret (Video)

The Brit pop group nearly signed with the “X Factor” judge

He helped launch One Direction and Il Divo and made “American Idol” appointment TV, but Simon Cowell still has some regrets.

No, it’s not “X Factor,” his less beloved follow-up to his “Idol” gig, and its well documented ratings free-fall. It turns out there was another pop super grip that slipped through his prickly grasp, Cowell told Jay Leno during Monday’s edition of “The Tonight Show.”

At one point in an illustrious career of packaging and promoting pop groups, the music manager and producer nearly signed the Spice Girls to a deal.

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“Spice Girls is probably my biggest mistake,” Cowell said.

“You passed on the Spice Girls?” Leno said. “And that was a mistake? Maybe you’re just ahead of your time.”

“Maybe I was actually kind,” Cowell mused.

The feisty record producer clarified that it was actually the decision of Posh, Sporty, Scary, Baby and Ginger not to come on board.

“I offered them a deal, but they didn’t want to sign to me, so that kind of hurt at the time,” Cowell said.

The Spice Girls, of course, went on to become one of the most successful acts in musical history, selling over 80 million records worldwide. However, Cowell’s memory of the failed negotiations contradicts comments Victoria Beckham (a.k.a. Posh Spice) made about the reasons the group signed elsewhere.

‘He is the only man in the music industry who turned down the Spice Girls – and said we would never work,” Bechkam said in 2009 while guest judging on “Idol.” “I like that fact.”

Watch the video: