X Factor judge Simon Cowell has admitted he is "very embarrassed" that contracts signed by this year's contestants have been leaked to the tabloids.

The Mirror newspaper reported details from the 80-page document earlier this week, which includes a clause preventing singing hopefuls from making any "unduly negative, critical or derogatory" comments about Cowell.

"I didn't put that in there," he stressed. "Very embarrassing."

"I wasn't aware that one of the clauses said you can't be horrible about me," he told the BBC.

"It's probably the most useless clause in the history of contracts, because everybody does talk horrible about me.

"And do you know what? I don't care. It sounds ridiculously hypocritical of me to slate most people who come on the show and then to go: 'And, by the way, you've got to be nice about Simon'."

The Mirror also suggested that the apparent "£1 million recording contract" promised to the eventual winner on air is erroneous, with the actual figure closer to £150,000.

Cowell admitted former winners such as Leona Lewis and Leon Jackson had not received £1 million in prize money but said the show was not guilty of false advertising.

"We make over a million pound commitment to the winner. That's why it's described as a £1 million recording contract," he explained.

According to Cowell, 49, almost half of the £1 million is spent on recording costs, with £200,000 going towards music videos and around £400,000 spent on advertising and marketing.

Dannii Minogue's future on the show still seems uncertain after she neglected to answer a question regarding a return for next year's series, with Cowell adding: "Do you know what, we're going to sit down with everybody in January."

"But I would be surprised if it's a different line-up. Although Louis [Walsh] is going to have to get some work done," he joked.

12/12/2008 13:31:34