'American Idol' alum Simon Cowell returns to the airwaves this fall in his much-anticipated new talent competition, 'The X Factor.' The extended preview below initially shows the cantankerous judge turning over a new leaf - kind words, applause for those who don't deserve it, and making nice with fellow judge and frequent sparring partner Paula Abdul.

 

But you knew it all had to be a dream. And for Simon, a nightmare.

'Idol' and 'X Factor' do have some similarities - they're both singing contests and they both offer worldwide exposure for contestants. But while the winner of 'Idol' receives a $1 million recording contract, the 'X Factor' champ gets $5 million in contracts and cash. In addition, 'Idol' hopefuls must be between the ages of 15-28 to audition. 'X Factor' accepts singers as young as 12 and has no upper age-limit cutoff.

So it's possible that the final two could be someone who doesn't even have a driver's license yet vying against a Social Security recipient. Only time will tell.

'The X Factor' premieres Wednesday, September 21 on Fox.

[Deadline]