Paula Abdul Officially Joins 'X Factor'

Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones have also been announced as hosts

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Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell at the first round of the 'X Factor' auditions in Los Angeles, May 8, 2011.
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After months of speculation, Simon Cowell has finally appointed his former American Idol colleague Paula Abdul to The X Factor's judges' panel.

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"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.

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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.

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"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.

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