Abdul officially joins X Factor

X MARKS THE SPOT: As expected, Paula Abdul closed a last-minute deal with Fox that will reunite her with her Simon Cowell on the highly anticipated U.S. version of The X Factor, the L.A. Times reported Sunday afternoon, just as the Lakers championship era was ending in Dallas. Abdul appeared a bit overwhelmed as she prepared to enter the first taping of the show and meet her fellow judges Cheryl Cole, L.A. Reid and Cowell as a group for the first time. "It’s awkward and wonderful and beautiful at the same time," she said as she was whisked by reporters and into the Galen Center at USC for the first dat of auditions. "I really miss him," Abdul said of her once and future partner. And when asked whether viewers will see a different, less bizarre Paula, she reeplied with a smile. "I am who I am." (5/9a)

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