Simon Cowell: Paula Abdul Was a ‘Ballsy’ Hold-Out for ‘X Factor’

Ms. “Straight Up” took her sweet time deciding whether she wanted to pair with her former “Idol” co-worker again

For someone who's been out of work for a while, Paula Abdul wasn't in a particular hurry to work with her former "American Idol" co-worker Simon Cowell again.

Abdul — who's pretty much been at loose ends since departing "American Idol" in 2009 following a pay dispute — has officially signed on as a judge for Cowell's upcoming American version of "The X Factor." But to hear Cowell tell it, despite Abdul's slide from "Idol" to "idle," she didn't exactly jump at the chance to sign on.

Also read: "Cheryl Cole, Complete Brat, Joins U.S. 'X Factor'"

Admitting that it required "a bit of a nudge" to bring Abdul on board, Cowell tells E! Online, "I admired her, actually, because a lot of people would've just said,'You know what, I'll just take it.' But Paula's Paula, she stuck to her guns, and I admire her for that. You know, she's ballsy. At one point, I called her and I said, 'You really are pushing your luck here."

Of course, Abdul might not so much have been holding out for more cash, as much as she might have been considering whether she wanted to spend time with the famously cantankerous Cowell again. In the press release announcing her reunion with Cowell, Abdul noted, not so cryptically, "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!"

Watch Cowell discuss Abdul's ballsy display in the video.