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.”

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