Simon Cowell made a surprise return to ‘American Idol’ on Thursday night, for the finale of the show’s 15th and final season. The former judge even offered a slight apology for being so mean to the contestants over the years and also thanked viewers for letting them into their homes for the past 15 years.

Simon CowellSimon Cowell made a surprise return to ‘American Idol’ for its last ever episode.

Cowell surprised fellow judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson when he appeared on the ‘Idol’ stage and joked: "I just thought this would be a good [opportunity] on behalf of myself, Randy, Ryan and Paula to apologize, over the years, for being so mean to the contestants.”

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“We were trying to be nurturing, helpful...I think now is the time to apologise to America.” he added, before Abdul responded "Guilty. Not!”. Cowell was expected not to make the ‘Idol’ finale and had previously told E! News he would be in another country.

Cowell also offered his heartfelt thanks to ‘Idol’s’ viewers, contestants and even his fellow judges. "I'd like to say on behalf of us, thank you America for inviting us into your homes. Thank you to the contestants, to Fox for actually putting us on air, to you guys for actually being my best friends now, and I am going to miss you,” he said.

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On Thursday night’s finale, 25-year-old Trent Harmon was named the show’s last ever winner, with La'Porsha Renae taking second place. The star-studded finale included performances from former winner Carrie Underwood and a special video of first ever winner Kelly Clarkson.