paula abdul live to dance 'The X Factor': Paula Abdul signs judge's contract, shows up for tapingPaula Abdul is back in familiar territory — judging a singing competition alongside frenemy Simon Cowell.

According to a FOX press release, Abdul has officially joined Cowell, Cheryl Cole and L.A. Reid as a judge of the American take on “The X Factor,” set to debut on FOX in September.

And when Zap2it’s caught up with Abdul on Sunday (May 8) at the first day of “The X Factor” auditions in Los Angeles, she seemed appropriately psyched.

“I’m thrilled,” says Abdul. “I’m beyond thrilled — I’m exhilarated. I’m terrified.”

She also confessed to missing Cowell.

“I really miss him,” she adds. “I
really do. It’s been a while. It’s awkward and wonderful and a thrill at
the same time. I don’t know what to expect.”

And as for her new co-judges, Adbul is optimistic.

“I think what’s [exciting]
about this new group is we’re all meeting each other for the first time
right now,” she said. “It’s a brand new adventure and a new journey and a
different show. So, you know, anything goes and I’m sure with passionate
people, things happen.”

We may need to count on Cole and Reid for the “different show” vibe. After all, we’ve seen the Simon and Paula show before.

Here’s the official press release from FOX:

America’s sweetheart, world-renowned choreographer and pop icon Paula Abdul will join Cheryl Cole, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Simon Cowell as a judge on THE X FACTOR, the highly anticipated singing competition series debuting this fall on FOX. Abdul, who sat alongside Cowell for eight seasons as a judge on AMERICAN IDOL, has worldwide album sales exceeding 50 million records, two No. 1 albums, six No. 1 singles, a Grammy Award, seven MTV Awards, two Emmy Awards, two People’s Choice Awards and two Kids’ Choice Awards. Abdul will join Cole, Cowell, and Reid as they travel to THE X FACTOR audition cities searching for the next global superstar or breakout music group.

“This show would never have been the same without Paula and I can’t believe I am saying this – I have missed her a lot, and I am thrilled she’s on the show,” said Simon Cowell.

“I am excited beyond words to be a part of THE X FACTOR.  I couldn’t be happier to bring my love for cultivating talent and performance to such a wildly anticipated show,” said Paula Abdul.   “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!”

On Saturday (May 7), FOX announced the first season’s hosts would be ex-Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and British TV personality Steve Jones.

Additional reporting by Rick Porter.

Posted by:Liz Kelly Nelson