Simon and Paula, Together Again?

The official announcement of who will be judging the American version of The X Factor is taking a ridiculously long time, but Simon Cowell seems to be edging closer to telling a breathless nation who will maybe-possibly-perhaps be joining him on the panel. And yes, his old friend Paula Abdul is involved.

In an interview with deadline.com, Cowell strongly implied that he’s decided on bringing Paula back to his side on the new show as she was on American Idol, and that British recording star and U.K. X Factor judge Cheryl Cole is his pick to fill the fourth judging slot.  However, his comments regarding Paula in particular were less than definitive. “I think there’s a good chance it will be her. We’ve agreed that we would meet as many people as possible, and now we’re reaching the deadline we’ve got to make the decision soon. But I think she’s got a really good shot,” he said.

It’s hard to know what the holdup would be with Paula, given that her track record in just about everything lately aside from doing shows with Simon is notoriously bad. Cole’s interest is easier to fathom, given that she’s an unknown in the U.S and wants to change that status. One wonders if Cowell is hedging his comments because Fox would like to see some more star power on the panel (which also includes veteran record executive L.A. Reid). You can’t discount the appeal of Simon, but aside from him, competitor shows Idol and NBC’s The Voice (which premieres Tuesday) seem to have won the battle of the star judges.