The Simon Cowell-Paula Abdul reunion is almost on, according to an exclusive interview Cowell gave to Nikki Finke. The former American Idol judge says that while the deal is not yet done, he definitely wants Abdul as a judge on The X Factor, the US version of his hit UK show debuting this fall on Fox. "I've always wanted Paula. Always been very vocal about that," he tells Finke. "Always loved working with her even though she can be a pain. I don’t know what it is about her, but I've always clicked with her. You just have to get that chemistry, and she's right. I've never found anyone better than her."
And, though nothing is finalized, "I think there's a good chance it will be her," he says. "I think she's got a really good shot." Other judges include Cowell, of course, and Antonio "LA" Reid, chairman of Island Def Jam Music Group who quit that gig to be on the show. Cowell is also close to a deal with Cheryl Cole, who has worked with him on the UK version of the show and who Finke describes as "a Brit singer convicted of assault who's unknown to American audiences." Overall, Finke is not impressed: Based on this line-up, The X Factor sounds more like the "ZZZZZZ Factor," she writes for Deadline. And considering big names like Diddy, Snoop, Cee Lo, and Fergie were floated as possible judges, Finke says it's clear that "Cowell wants himself to be the only celebrated celebrity on his new show." Click for more pooh-poohing, and other interesting details, from Finke. (Read more Simon Cowell stories.)