A show insider said, “It seems Cowell is embarrassed by the whole affair and wants it to go away, hence why he’s giving Kelly the cash.”
Officially, the show insists a fourth judge alongside Cowell and the other two didn't work.
It supposedly messed up the flow.
Other sources have also claimed that bosses knew a fourth judge wouldn't work and unsuccessfully tried to talk Simon out of hiring Kelly.
$279K would make our hurt feelings go away!