Public perception of Simon Cowell may be that of a cranky, acid-tongued codger, thanks to his brutally honest critiques from his heyday as an 'American Idol' judge. Turns out, Cowell has mellowed with age and he isn't quite so dour, as sources close to his new show 'X Factor' leaked the news that he is more like dear ol' dad to the females he is mentoring.

Cowell is fostering the talented females and this past week, he pared his group down to Drew Ryniewicz, Melanie Amaro, and Rachel Crow. However, after a recent sojourn to the mall, where things devolved into a mob scene, Cowell has stepped up safety measures for the ladies and is taking extra precautions to ensure that none of his girls are harmed as their fame grows.

TMZ reports that a source said that Cowell has directed his personal bodyguards to serve as security detail for the trio and that none of the girls are allowed to leave the studio without some sort of security; he'd rather the girls be safe than sorry. Cowell also wants them to feel safe while they engage in typical behaviors, like shopping or going out to eat.

However, most ladies don't require an escort when shopping for bras or tops at the local mall, since most regular, typical girls are not pop-stars-in-training. Life will never the same for these contestants, in a good way, for the most part.

It's certainly endearing to see how much Papa Simon loves his gals! Let's hope they continue to make him proud every week.