Paula Abdul Officially Joins 'X Factor'

Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones have also been announced as hosts

By
Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell at the first round of the 'X Factor' auditions in Los Angeles, May 8, 2011. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

After months of speculation, Simon Cowell has finally appointed his former American Idol colleague Paula Abdul to The X Factor's judges' panel.

VIDEO: The week's top celeb headlines

"This show would never have been the same without Paula and I can't believe I am saying this, [but] I have missed her a lot, and I am thrilled she's on the show," Cowell, 51, told Us Weekly in a statement Sunday afternoon, hours after his new series began its first official day of production in Los Angeles.

PHOTOS: Revisit Simon's last season on American Idol

Abdul -- who exited Idol in 2009 after eight seasons -- tells Us she can't wait to start critiquing wannabe singers again.

"I am excited beyond words to be a part of The X Factor," the 48-year-old Abdul said in a statement. "I couldn't be happier to bring my love for cultivating talent and performance to such a wildly anticipated show.

VIDEO: Does this singer have star potential?

"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!"

Abdul's 11th hour appointment rounds out The X Factor's full celebrity roster, which includes fellow judges L.A. Reid and Cheryl Cole and cohosts Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones.

x