Until now, only Island Def Jam music mogul Antonio "L.A." Reid had been confirmed as an "X Factor USA" judge, but Paula's name kept cropping up as a rumored possibility, especially after the massive failure and cancellation of her own CBS reality show, "Live To Dance," left her free to take the job. And it seems Simon has just been waiting for the day that she could say yes. Apparently, Paula is forever Simon's girl.
Although "Live To Dance," on which Paula was the lead judge calling the shots, was a flop, I have a feeling viewers will welcome her back in this sidekick role with open arms. After all, the sweet and kooky ex-cheerleader has always been the perfect foil for big mean villain Simon, and as popular as new "Idol" judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are, many viewers are tiring of their shtick and missing the old "Idol" formula. But that is the one caveat here. With two-thirds of the classic "American Idol" panel reunited on "The X Factor," what will differentiate this new show from its logical Fox predecessor, and not just make it seem like a hokey sequel ("American Idol 2: Electric Boogaloo")?Check them out, they were actually kind of awesome.) Her tabloid marriage to (and eventual tabloid divorce from) soccer star Ashley Cole made her a sort of Posh Spice 2 (Electric Boogaloo), but she found her niche on "The X Factor U.K." Any American who's watched the British version of the show online already knows that she makes for great TV, and no, her working-class Newcastle accent is not that hard to understand. (According to some reports, her accent was a stumbling block for producers, who feared her broad brogue would alienate xenophobic audiences over here.) Plus, she is simply gorgeous. The camera LOVES her, and in Britain she's currently enjoying a solo pop career masterminded by the seemingly unavoidable will.i.am.
Gee, I wonder if all this will make Paula jealous...
Anyway, according to Finke's interview with Simon, Cheryl is "pretty much a shoo-in for the show" and will be announced as a judge this week. Simon denies that there was ever any push-back from Fox regarding his adamant decision to bring Cheryl to America. (Other reasons given for this rumored push-back: her name sounding too much like Sheryl Crow's, her criminal record stemming from a 2003 assault charge, and the fact that she's basically an unknown in the States.) "No, absolute opposite," Simon says. "[The Fox network's] 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."
Adds Simon: "This girl is special. She's just got a great ability to communicate. She's a great judge. She's smart. It's just a hunch. If people take to her like the British public did, I think she's going to do really well in America. And Fox was desperate to hire her."
Judge chemistry is so important on these shows, so we shall soon see if "X" marks the spot.
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