Talk about taking negotiations down to the wire.
Fox didn't announce Paula Abdul would join the four-judge panel on Simon Cowell's U.S. version of The X Factor until today -- when the panel was supposed to review the performers culled from its cattle call auditions last month.
Like American Idol, X Factor sends teams of producers to huge cattle call auditions, sorting through thousands of hopefuls to find the much smaller field seen by the on camera judges. If X Factor plays out anything like Idol, they'll edit together the footage from early and late auditions to make it seem as if the big stars are there at the same time as the big crowds.
Below is Fox's press release on it all, along with some pictures Abdul herself tweeted of the press conference and judging; Cowell blames lawyers for taking negotiations for Abdul so far down to the wire they considered using a guest judge or cancelling today's auditions.
GRAMMY AND EMMY AWARD WINNER PAULA ABDUL JOINS CHERYL COLE, ANTONIO "L.A." REID AND SIMON COWELL ON "THE X FACTOR" JUDGES PANEL
Auditions Continue in Dallas on Thursday, May 26
Singers and Vocal Groups Age 12 and Over Eligible to Audition For Chance to Win a $5 Million Syco/Sony Music Recording Contract
America's sweetheart, world-renowned choreographer and pop icon Paula Abdul will join Cheryl Cole, Antonio "L.A." Reid and Simon Cowell as a judge on THE X FACTOR, the highly anticipated singing competition series debuting this fall on FOX.
Abdul, who sat alongside Cowell for eight seasons as a judge on AMERICAN IDOL, has worldwide album sales exceeding 50 million records, two No. 1 albums, six No. 1 singles, a Grammy Award, seven MTV Awards, two Emmy Awards, two People's Choice Awards and two Kids' Choice Awards.
Abdul will join Cole, Cowell, and Reid as they travel to THE X FACTOR audition cities searching for the next global superstar or breakout music group. "This show would never have been the same without Paula and I can't believe I am saying this - I have missed her a lot, and I am thrilled she's on the show," said Simon Cowell.
"I am excited beyond words to be a part of THE X FACTOR. I couldn't be happier to bring my love for cultivating talent and performance to such a wildly anticipated show," said Paula Abdul. "I'm looking forward to being back with the FOX/FremantleMedia family and know that it will be an extraordinary journey -- we're going to have a blast. 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!"
"Paula is not only the lovely, nurturing person that America fell in love with, but she's also one of the fiercest competitors I've ever seen -- which makes her a perfect fit to judge THE X FACTOR," said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.
"Paula and Simon have undeniable chemistry, and together with L.A. Reid and Cheryl Cole, I think we've put together an incredibly entertaining judges' panel." "I'm thrilled to be working with Paula again," says executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. "A consummate entertainer in her own right, she has an extraordinary talent and generosity for nurturing performers -- and her chemistry with Simon Cowell is like no other. I especially look forward to seeing her signature sensibilities in action during our mentoring rounds!"
Auditions continue in Dallas, TX, on Thursday, May 26. THE X FACTOR is searching for undiscovered talent 12 years old or over - both solo artists and vocal groups- who are willing to brave the panel for a chance to win a $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music.
Interested solo artists and vocal groups should sign up now for audition information at www.fox.com/theXfactor or call toll-free 855-345-5678. In a departure from other singing competition series, the first time contestants audition for THE X FACTOR judges, they will do so in front of an audience of thousands - raising the stakes and increasing the pressure to impress not only the judges, but also a potential legion of fans. This will be the ultimate test to prove they have the vocal ability, charisma and stage presence that it takes to win an unprecedented $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music.
As previously announced, Pepsi will serve as an official sponsor of THE X FACTOR. The comprehensive sponsorship includes an extensive, multi-platform off-air marketing partnership; weekly in-show integrations and placements; and an immersive content experience online. THE X FACTOR is produced by Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America. Simon Cowell, Rob Wade and Siobhan Greene are executive producers for Syco Television. Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Richard Holloway and Andrew Llinares serve as executive producers for FremantleMedia North America.