Paula Abdul, Cheryl Cole in as X Factor judges, Simon Cowell says (kind of)

Simon Cowell has confirmed the judges for The X Factor, kind of. Besides himself and previously announced judge L.A. Reid, they are Paula Abdul and Cheryl Cole. If this holds up, it basically means that months of leaks and reports in trade and gossip press have been pointless, because Paula was rumored to judge 18 months ago, and Cheryl Cole was first mentioned last fall (along with Nicole Scherzinger) before the real onslaught of rumors that even included Lindsay Lohan.

The “kind of” qualification comes because Deadline’s Nikki Finke talked to Simon and reports that Simon “made it clear to me he has finally decided on his judging panel.” But in her either sloppy or clever way, she does not quote him directly, and notes “that negotiations for Abdul’s deal hasn’t even started and that Cole’s deal isn’t quite done yet.” Still, she insists Cowell “has made up his mind to bring back Paula Abdul” and use UK judge Cheryl Cole.

As to reports that Fox was unhappy about an unknown UK judge, Simon said, “No, absolute opposite. Mike Darnell and Peter Rice will tell you they wanted her all the time, I showed a tape to Mike Darnell two years ago of a clip I’d shot in England of Cheryl and he said there and then, ‘I’d hire her now for Idol.’ They absolutely fell in love with her. In a way, the deal, it was almost conditional on Cheryl having the gig. They were desperate for her.”

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.