"You've got to start working out in your head who's going to be [in the bottom three] the following week. You kind of go, 'Well [Anoop Desai's] going to be there probably again.' And I wouldn't have wanted to save him, so this is probably the only time we could have chosen it well. It worked out fine," Cowell said during a post-results show interview broadcast on Thursday's Good Day L.A. morning show.
Cowell added that it was a combination of Giraud's Wednesday night encore performance and subsequent support from the studio audience and judges Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi that ultimately led to "The Judges' Save" being used.
"We always said we'd use it at the time we thought was the right time. It's the only time -- to be honest with you -- we actually felt from the audience or anyone that they actually cared," said Cowell, reiterating he still doesn't think Giraud has a shot at winning the eighth-season title.
"I don't think for one second he can win. I genuinely don't. I think at best it's a fourth place, but I can't see him doing better than that... It is a personal opinion. The girls love him. So maybe I'm wrong... [but that is] unlikely."
Cowell also acknowledged that Randy Jackson was on the fence when it came to the decision of whether or not to save Giraud -- a decision that, according to the twist's originally announced rules, needed to be a unanimous decision from all four Idol judges.
"Randy was bit more indifferent," said Cowell. "I think he could have gone either way."
However Jackson ultimately agreed to go along with the decision to save Giraud, who was allowed to remain in Idol's eighth-season competition when the show's judges unanimously decided to use their one-time "The Judges' Save" ability to prevent his elimination as the week's low vote-getter.
"He did his best at the end, he was popular, so you have to make those decisions at the right time. I think it's a good call that they put this into the show," said Cowell before reiterating his Wednesday night warning to the remaining finalists.
"Of course the implications are, as I said to them, they can be jumping around as much as they like, but now next week two of them are going home. Now they'll all hate it."
Idol's Top 7 eighth-season finalists will perform disco hits on Tuesday night episode, and Cowell said that other than Adam Lambert, all of the remaining contestants should be nervous.
"It was made for him, and everyone else is going to find it tough," said Cowell. "I think it's good that next week is a tough week because it means they can't be safe anymore."