By Tom Comi
For somebody who claims he wants to distance himself from American Idol, Simon Cowell surely did himself no favors this week with the announcement that former sidekick Paula Abdul will serve as a judge on his new singing competition.
That’s right, Cowell and Abdul will pair up once again, this time on The X Factor. And while he is quick to point out the many differences between the two shows, it’s hard to picture that being the case when they both involve singing, both appear on Fox and both feature two of the same judges.
Abdul, who served with Cowell as a judge on American Idol for eight seasons, joined The X Factor just in time for its first auditions in Los Angeles this past weekend. And although it’s been three years since she and Cowell last worked together, most Idol fans will remember that it was not always a great experience.
For many seasons the fact that they were polar opposites in terms of their judging approach worked well for the show. Cowell was always blunt to a fault, while Abdul tended to sugarcoat her comments so as to not offend the contestants. But the yin-yang routine became stale at the end when the two bickered constantly like a married couple, making it awkward for both the singers and the viewers.
The “marriage” came to an end in 2009 when Abdul made the following announcement via Twitter: “”With sadness in my heart, I’ve decided not to return to Idol. I’ll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day one become an international phenomenon.”
There’s no saying that Paula and Simon can’t recreate the magic they enjoyed over the first several years of Idol, but Cowell has pretty much sealed his fate from the beginning in terms of carving out a new niche for his latest creation (he also serves behind the scenes on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.)
If Idol judge Randy Jackson were to judge Cowell’s decision on hiring Abdul, it might go something like this: “Yo, dawg, you had a chance to do a great new show, but you didn’t make it your own. I love Paula, but it just doesn’t work for me. Not good, man, not good.”
Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX