The show's Mr Nasty admits he backed Gareth Gates over Will Young all the way...

‘POP IDOL’ judge and self-styled Mr Nasty SIMON COWELL feels the wrong finalist won ‘POP IDOL’.

Speaking to NME.COM while promoting the newly launched ‘Pop Idol’ franchise in South Africa, Cowell said he thought Gareth Gates should have pipped winner Will Young to the title.

“From day one I pushed for him to win,” he said. “I thought he was the winner. The other contestant who was unlucky was Sarah Whatmore, the girl I asked to marry me. We’ve signed her.”

Cowell also said there were moments he regrets having being so vicious towards contestants on the show.

“When I played back a tape of the show… there were moments when I’d wince a little. And a few times when I’d think ‘’God you arsehole!’’ But that’s what happens when you’re not being premeditated.”

He added that the remarks were from the hip. “It was always me,” he said. “It was always unrehearsed. I’d always arrive a few minutes before the start and didn’t know what I was going to say until I had said it. I always kept it real otherwise it would have got boring.”

Cowell also hit back at jibes about his prominent pectorals.

“I do push ups every day and it makes those muscles there look enlarged, especially when I’m wearing a tight T-shirt,” he said. And he responded to the tabloids suggestion that he is planning to have a breast reduction operation by saying: “There is no truth to the rumour.”