After months of speculation, Paula Abdul has finally confirmed that she will join Simon Cowell’s “X Factor” as the fourth and final judge.
Along with Cowell and previously announced judges Cheryl Cole and Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Abdul was on hand to judge the show’s first round of auditions, which took place in Los Angeles at USC’s Galen Center on Sunday.
Speaking before the taping, Abdul, who arrived beaming in a purple gown, told THR, “This is a brand new adventure … We have a whole new approach.”
Abdul, an ex-American Idol judge like Cowell, has been embroiled in negotiations with X Factor producers to join the singing competition for the past few months. As THR first reported, some of the language in Abdul’s contract for her short-lived CBS reality show Live to Dance nearly prevented her from joining X Factor.
Although the CBS issues were eventually resolved, Abdul, who caught Idol producers off guard in 2009 when she abruptly announced she was leaving the show, withheld from making a final decision until hours before the taping.
When prompted about the last-minute drama, Abdul only said, “I am here, only Simon and I understand.”
The duo certainly seemed close before the auditions, with Cowell sweeping Abdul into a tight embrace the moment he stepped out of his car.
“I really miss him,” said Abdul about the warm reunion. “It’s awkward and wonderful at the same time.”
Asked about the chemistry of the panel, Reid, who arrived first and joked that he was “the opening act,” told THR, “[Cowell] said putting together a panel of host and judges is like seating a great dinner party. He says he’s very good at it and I believe him.”
Former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and U.K. television personality Steve Jones will host X Factor, which premieres in September on FOX.