Paula Abdul finally joined Simon Cowell's new singing competition, "The X Factor," on Sunday, but it's safe to say she's got healthy misgivings.
In the news release on Sunday announcing her joining the judges' panel, she said, "We're going to have a blast." Then she added: "I'm also delighted and grateful to be sitting next to Simon again…but you might want to check back with me in a week or two!"
Abdul left 'American Idol' in the summer of 2009 after reports raged of her unhappiness at being treated disrespectully by Fox, and demanding as much as $20 million to sign a new contract.
Behind the scenes, executives allowed it to be known that Abdul had turned into some kind of diva.
But that is all apparently in the past. Abdul's playful – and sometimes not that playful – bickering with Cowell became a signature of "American Idol." But Cowell is smart enough to know that it was a big part of the show's appeal.
He's been wooing Abdul in public statements for months, and on Sunday said: "This show would never have been the same without Paula and I can’t believe I am saying this — I have missed her a lot, and I am thrilled she’s on the show."
Abdul is the only real household name on the show besides Cowell himself. Just after the news release went out, Abdul giddily tweeted to her 1.9 million followers: "I wanted so much to give you a confirmation sooner… Well here it is right now! :)) xoxoP"
Fox also announced Sunday that Steve Jones (um, who?) and Nicole Scherzinger, a former Pussycat Doll, will also co-host the U.S. version of the British show.
Jones is a British TV personality little known in the U.S., and Scherzinger is a former Pussycat Dolls lead singer and solo artist.
"These two are going to be great together," Cowell said. "I have always wanted Steve to work with us; I think he is a real star. Nicole is fantastic. I loved working with her on the U.K. ‘X Factor’ last year. She is gorgeous and super-talented."
Jones and Scherzinger join previously announced judges Cowell, Cheryl Cole, and Antonio "L.A." Reid. The show debuts in September.
Auditions are ongoing in Dallas and will continue on Thursday.
Here's the full Fox press release.
GRAMMY AND EMMY AWARD WINNER PAULA ABDUL
JOINS CHERYL COLE, ANTONIO “L.A.” REID AND SIMON COWELL
ON “THE X FACTOR” JUDGES PANEL
Auditions Continue in Dallas on Thursday, May 26
Singers and Vocal Groups Age 12 and Over Eligible to Audition
For Chance to Win a $5 Million Syco/Sony Music Recording Contract
America’s sweetheart, world-renowned choreographer and pop icon Paula Abdul will join Cheryl Cole, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Simon Cowell as a judge on THE X FACTOR, the highly anticipated singing competition series debuting this fall on FOX. Abdul, who sat alongside Cowell for eight seasons as a judge on AMERICAN IDOL, has worldwide album sales exceeding 50 million records, two No. 1 albums, six No. 1 singles, a Grammy Award, seven MTV Awards, two Emmy Awards, two People’s Choice Awards and two Kids’ Choice Awards. Abdul will join Cole, Cowell, and Reid as they travel to THE X FACTOR audition cities searching for the next global superstar or breakout music group.
“This show would never have been the same without Paula and I can’t believe I am saying this – I have missed her a lot, and I am thrilled she’s on the show,” said Simon Cowell.
"I am excited beyond words to be a part of THE X FACTOR. I couldn't be happier to bring my love for cultivating talent and performance to such a wildly anticipated show," said Paula Abdul. "I'm looking forward to being back with the FOX/FremantleMedia family and know that it will be an extraordinary journey — we're going to have a blast. I'm also delighted and grateful to be sitting next to Simon again…but you might want to check back with me in a week or two!"
“Paula is not only the lovely, nurturing person that America fell in love with, but she’s also one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever seen — which makes her a perfect fit to judge THE X FACTOR,” said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “Paula and Simon have undeniable chemistry, and together with L.A. Reid and Cheryl Cole, I think we’ve put together an incredibly entertaining judges’ panel.”
“I'm thrilled to be working with Paula again," says executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. “A consummate entertainer in her own right, she has an extraordinary talent and generosity for nurturing performers — and her chemistry with Simon Cowell is like no other. I especially look forward to seeing her signature sensibilities in action during our mentoring rounds!"