After over a year of rumors and after a week of intense speculation, Paula Abdul has officially been announced as the fourth judge on FOX's "The X Factor," reuniting with her "American Idol" bickering chum Simon Cowell
 
FOX made the formal reveal of Abdul's involvement on Sunday (May 8) afternoon as "X Factor" held its first taping in Los Angeles, completing a judging panel that also features Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Antonio "L.A." Reid. 
 
"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," states Simon Cowell, who made no secret of his desire to bring Abdul into the "X Factor" family. 
 
Although her CBS dancing competition series "Live to Dance" was a midseason bomb, Abdul had a good deal more success during the eight years she shared the "American Idol" judging panel with Cowell. Her recording career includes sales of more than 50 million albums worldwide, plus a Grammy.
 
"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," states 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!"
 
See, it's funny because they used to butt heads on "Idol." 
 
States FOX Reality Guru Mike Darnell, "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.' 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."
 
FOX has gotten tremendous publicity mileage out of the last-second "X Factor" deals leading up to the Sunday taping, announcing Cole on Friday and hosts Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones on Saturday. Although Abdul's name was one of the first linked to the show back when FOX acquired the rights to the UK hit, she ended up being the last judge to sign on the dotted line.
 
"I'm thrilled to be working with Paula again," states executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz, another "American Idol" veteran. "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!"
 
Singers on "X Factor" will be competing for a $5 million Syco/Sony Music recording contract. 
 
The series will premiere on FOX this fall.