'America's Got Talent' Judges Say Simon Cowell Could Be Back Before Season 15 Ends

Simon Cowell was forced to miss out on America's Got Talent's first live show on Tuesday due to a back injury that he sustained while riding a new electric bike near his Malibu, California home. Kelly Clarkson filled in for him on the judging panel and will do so again on Wednesday night's episode. Will Cowell be able to return before Season 15 ends? His fellow AGT judges have high hopes that he will make a return before the season can crown its next winner.

According to Howie Mandel, Cowell has been recovering well enough that he expects to see him back on the judging panel before the end of the season. "We have been told he has been recovering tremendously," Mandel told Entertainment Tonight. "I would not count him out before the end of this season." The Deal or No Deal host went on to describe just how well Cowell has been doing following the six-hour surgery that he underwent to mend his back, which broke in several places. He added, "He's had a six-hour operation, and he is already on his feet, which is above and beyond expectation, so I am thrilled. I love the guy, I miss the guy, and my hearts and minds are with him and each and every moment."

Fellow judge Heidi Klum agreed with Mandel's sentiments. She also said that she's definitely missing Cowell, even though Clarkson did do a great job taking over his duties recently. "Obviously we miss the boss. There is no one who could actually take his place, even though Kelly did absolutely amazing today," Klum explained. "[She did] an amazing job and she had so much fun, but no one is like Simon. That is just the way it is." On Saturday, it was reported that Cowell broke his back in multiple places due to this bike incident. His rep confirmed the news and shared that the AGT judge is doing alright following the ordeal. "Simon had a fall from his bike on Saturday afternoon while testing his new electric bike in the courtyard at his house in Malibu with his family," they said. "He hurt his back and was taken to the hospital. He's doing fine, he's under observation and is in the best possible hands."

On Monday, Clarkson announced that she would be stepping in for Cowell for AGT's live shows on Tuesday and Wednesday. "My friend, Simon Cowell, is doing better now but was in an accident and won't be able to make Tuesday and Wednesday's live shows for AGT," the singer wrote on Twitter. "But no worries America, someone far wiser, cooler, and hotter is taking his seat! The unbelievably amazing Kelly Clarkson. You're welcome in advance!" It's unclear whether she will be a part of the judging panel for any subsequent shows or whether Cowell will be able to return to the show sometime soon.