NBC announced Monday that Saturday Night Live vet Kenan Thompson will step in for the injured Cowell in this week’s live episodes (airing Tuesday and Wednesday). Thompson succeeds Clarkson, who occupied Cowell’s seat last week. Thompson will serve as guest judge opposite full-time Season 15 judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara.
Cowell broke his back earlier this month while testing his new electric bike in the courtyard of his Malibu, Calif. home. He was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent a five-hour surgery. He is expected to make a full recovery.
“Some good advice, if you buy an electric trail bike, read the manual before you ride it for the first time,” Cowell tweeted post-surgery, before adding, “Thank you to everyone for your kind messages. And a massive thank you to all the nurses and doctors. Some of the nicest people I have ever met.”
NBC has yet to announce a return date for Cowell.