Simon Cowell plans to cast Paula Abdul alongside legendary record executive L.A. Reid and British singer Cheryl Cole on the judge’s panel of the U.S. version of his hit British talent show search, The X-Factor. Even though the competition is steeper than ever, with three singing shows on network television, each associated with big-name stars, Cowell says that he’s always been “very vocal” about wanting to reunite with Abdul, who left American Idol after eight years as a judge.

Reid, who resigned from his position as CEO and Chairman of Def Jam, is the only one officially confirmed for his spot on The X-Factor. But Cowell says that he absolutely wants Abdul and Cole, who is relatively unknown in the U.S. but was a judge on the British version of The X-Factor.

Cowell missed Abdul “the second” she left American Idol. “I don’t know what it is about her, but I've always clicked with her." tells DeadlineHollywood. "You just have to get that chemistry, and she's right. I've never found anyone better than her. I think there's a good chance it will be her.” He says that many celebrity names have been thrown around, but that Abdul’s got “a really good shot.”

Cowell is not worried that Cole isn't a household name in the US. yet. “She's just got a great ability to communicate. She’s a great judge. She's smart,” he says. “If people take to her like the British public did, I think she's going to do really well in America.”

But with all the big names the competition has hired, will The X-Factor panel be able to draw an audience? (American Idol brought in Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith front man Stephen Tyler to sit beside Randy Jackson as judges, after an unsuccessful run with Ellen Degeneres and Kara DioGuardi. The Voice boasts Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton, and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine.)

Only time (and ratings) will tell. – KATIE LUSCOMBE


  • Scott Deady
    Scott Deady on

    Paula Abdul might just be what X Factor needs to bring in ratings. Then again, it might make it feel even more like the old American Idol and stale.

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