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Simon Cowell is back, he’s mad as hell- as in bonkers, he’s thrown down the gauntlet [and his purse] in a hissy fit , he’s lowered the age group of his “X Factor” contestants in the US to 12- WTF? and is offering the winner, a US$5m recording contract with either his SyCo imprint or Sony Music.

Whatever this all is meant achieve, it means Cowell means business and he has just declared war on “American Idol” and is rallying his troops.

Already, Donny Osmond has come out and said that “Idol” without Simon Cowell cannot be saved and cannot succeed as all the current judges “all wear white hats. There is no bad guy.”

Yes, I know: Donny Osmond? We care what Donny Osmond has to say? In 2011 and when the world has few “wearing white hats” or else pretending to wear “white hats”? Does Donny Osmond still have a career? Or is he still, “A little bit Rock’ n Roll”?

He just seems pissed off that he isn’t a judge on Season 10 of “Idol” and probably threw his black hat into the ring along with thousands of others so he could re-live his youth.

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Simon Cowell, on the other hand has a show- maybe he’ll have Donny Osmond as a guest?- and he’s going to make damn sure that it steamrolls its way all over “American Idol”. It’s going to get dirty, it’s going to get muddy, it’s going to get down to the last television talent show standing.

The offer of a US$5m contract, though a great PR carrot to dangle, has already got people in the industry talking: How can there be a return on investment? Who’s to know if $5m will actually be spent? Who knows? But for a man worth hundreds of millions, what’s a $5m here, another $5m there?

He says, it’s “putting my money where my mouth is”. I say, it’s putting his hand in his pocket and which is where his wallet is. and pulling out- no, not that- some chump change.

And with that steely competitive streak with the other and far more “chilled” Simon- Simon Fuller, creator of “American Idol” and his business nemesis- Simon The First is out to prove that anything Simon 2 does, he can do bigger  and better. And much younger.

It’s as if he’s saying, “Okay, ‘American Idol’, you lower the age for constants to 15 and try to find the next Justin Bieber? Hah, hah, hah! I laugh in your face and spit on your stupidity! I am lowering the age limit to 12 and wanna find the next Willow Smith, Teletubbies, Smurfs and Shirley Temple! Hah, hah, hah!” 

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Sorry, but contestants aged 15, I can kinda take. 15 is today’s 18. But, watching a show where 12-year-olds are gonna be seen up there onstage and singing about things like “love” is just too creepy and odd to imagine.

There’s more than a hint of a paedophelia’s dream world in the air in an all-ready pretty f***ed up world.

In his quest to outdo “American Idol” and “usurp” Simon Fuller, Nigel Lythgoe and “American Idol”, I reckon Simon Cowell has not only lost his marbles, he has taken a giant cannon and shot himself in the foot.

When it comes down to 12-year-olds being rejected by celebrity “judges” and the damage this type of criticism will do to their confidence, well, Mr. Cowell, you’ll have every parent group in America up your arse.

And what if a 12-year-old wins “X Factor”?

Gawd forbid, man,what type of record would they make- and who the f*** would buy it?

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