Simon Cowell blames lawyers for Abdul delay

Sun May 8, 2011 11:57pm EDT
 
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By Shirley Halperin and Kimberly Nordyke

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Simon Cowell blames attorneys for the fact that Paula Abdul's deal to serve as a judge on Cowell's "The X Factor" closed at the eleventh hour Sunday -- just as the judges' rounds of auditions were about to start.

He even said there was talk of using a guest judge, but he ultimately would have called off Sunday's auditions if Abdul's deal hadn't closed.

"I would've canceled today (if deal hadn't gone through)," Cowell told The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday at the University of Southern California's Gaten Center before the judges auditions began.

"The issue was that these conversations had gone on long enough. It's not like I sprung this on somebody. I just thought it's time for everyone to do their job and get the deal done. I couldn't have sat in front of you lot and said (Paula) wanted to do the deal and we couldn't."

Cowell added that it was important for Abdul -- who served as a judge alongside Cowell on Fox's "American Idol" -- to be a part of "X Factor," which debuts on Fox in September.

"I could just sense that the public would've been disappointed without Paula," Cowell said. "You see how we are; we get on really well."

One issue, according to sources, was an option that CBS had on Abdul based on a deal for her to participate in its short-lived competition show "Live to Dance." That deal, according to two sources close to "X Factor," contained language that could have prevented Abdul from joining the new show.

Said Cowell: "She's Paula Abdul. Nothing's ever easy, but I'm used to it."

Abdul serves as a judge alongside Cowell, Antonio "L.A." Reid and Cheryl Cole.