Pre-watershed scenes featuring Christina Aguilera and her backing dancers in a racy routine saw 2868 complaints made to media regulator Ofcom.
The singer donned a short black dress while her female dancers, who were bent over chairs, wore suspenders, bra tops, fishnet stockings and basques in the raunchy routine.
Cowell said he had listened to public opinion, adding: "I think based on the reaction we'd have to tone it down a bit."
He said he was pleased with the new judging panel on the show and described Tulisa Contostavlos and Kelly Rowland as "genius" and said for it to continue being a success "you can't keep doing things the same year after year after year".
Cowell said he does not think he has "fallen out" with Cheryl Cole but admitted he had only had a couple of texts from her since she was dropped as a judge on the US version of The X Factor.
He said viewers will see her in the first episode which was recorded before she left the series when she was replaced with former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger only three weeks after starting the job.
Cowell said: "I thought she would work better in England, nothing more than that, you will see her in the first episode but she doesn't look as comfortable on the American show as she does in the English show."
He said he offered her a role on the UK version of the show and a return to the US version but she turned both down, having also turned down an earlier opportunity to appear on the panel of Britain's Got Talent.
"She was offered BGT before X Factor and she basically had cold feet. She said yes and with two days to go she said this isn't for me," he said.
Cowell, who said he had been "incredibly close" to the Girls Aloud star at one time, added: "I don't think we've fallen out, at least I don't think so."