But Simon also stressed that despite the last-minute nature of the negotiations, he'd been waiting for this day for a long time. "I missed her when she left 'Idol'; I was always very clear about that," he told L.A. reporters. "Paula came up to my house one afternoon, and I've got to be honest with you: The second she walked in the door, she looked terrific, she had a real energy about her, and I mentally went, 'You've got the [X Factor] job. As soon as she walked in, she was different--something about her."
It has indeed been a while since Simon and Paula sat on a TV judging panel together; Paula pointed out that by the time "The X Factor USA" airs on Fox in September, it will have been almost three years. Mused Simon, "I think [Paula is] going to feel a lot of pressure, because there is a lot at stake here. I want to see her like when we were really happy, which was probably the middle of 'Idol,' maybe Season 4 or 5. I'd like to get back to those times again."
Well, Paula certainly seemed happy this sunny Sunday afternoon. Speaking with confidence to reporters, she said: "I am who I am, that's all I can say. I don't try to be or become anyone else. I am passionate; I get to do what I love to do. I have mentored and sought out talent for the past 20-plus years, and this is exactly where I'm supposed to be."
"The X Factor USA," whose judging panel will also include Island Def Jam mogul Antonio "L.A." Reid and "X Factor U.K." judge Cheryl Cole, premieres in September on Fox.
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