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Although Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul had a famously tense relationship as judges on American Idol, it looks like the two are about to reunite -- at Cowell's insistence! Cowell tells Deadline.com that he has offered Abdul a spot as a judge on his upcoming talent show, The X Factor.
Cowell has already signed Antonio "L.A." Reid, the former chairman of Island Def Jam Music Group) to sit on the panel, and he says the he has also offered a slot to Cheryl Cole, a former judge on the British version of The X Factor (which is still a hit show in the U.K.), to round out the group. Cowell had envisioned Mariah Carey being a judge, but her pregnancy complicated matters; however, Cowell says he still sees Carey having some kind of role on the show.
The X Factor has already begun auditioning thousands of hopefuls, and the eventual winner will receive the biggest prize in reality TV history, a $5 million record deal (compare that to the "only" $1 million recording contract that Idol winners get). Cowell is fully intending to find a "superstar." After all, The X Factor in the U.K. launched the career of world-famous singer Leona Lewis.
The judges on The X Factor will take on a one-on-one mentoring role with the finalists, something that distinguishes it from the strictly-panel format of American Idol.
While the deals to sign Cole and Abdul are not finalized yet, Cowell sounds hopeful and enthusiastic, especially at the prospect of working with Abdul again.
Cowell tells Deadline: "I've always wanted Paula... I missed her the second she left (American Idol). Always loved working with her even though she can be a pain... I don’t know what it is about her, but I've always clicked with her."
According to People, Cowell said last month, "There should be tension to a point (among the judges)... I liked the Idol panel when we first started. We had different opinions, and I think it's important you have different opinions."
Our opinion is that we would love to see Cowell and Abdul spar again -- it made for great television!