The X Factor USA: SiCo, Cheryl Cole & L.A. Reid are joined by Paula Abdul

After months of speculation, The X Factor USA kicked off in Los Angeles at the weekend, with Simon Cowell naming old pal, Paula Abdul as the final judge to make the American panel.

The pair, who had previously starred as judges on American Idol, seemed happy to be reunited as they hugged and kissed outside the auditions at the University of Southern California, with SiCo joking that they “almost weren’t going to do the show” if Abdul failed to join the series.

cowel + paula kiss


Speaking of her decision to become a judge on the show, Paula tweeted: “I wanted so much to give you a confirmation sooner… Well here it is right now! :)) xoxoP”

Abdul later posted a picture of herself and fellow judge, Cheryl Cole, on Twitter, accompanying the snap with the message: “Gotta tell you about Cheryl- ‘The Fierce’ is STRONG w/ this one! 🙂 she’s lovely! xoP”

Buds Cheryl + Paula cozy up for the camera

As well as posing with Paula, the Girls Aloud star made her US debut, dazzling the Stateside press as she arrived at the auditions sporting huge hair and a very bright orange and purple outfit.

According to the Daily Mail, when asked about her style choice, Chezza described her huge barnet as “crazy wild hair.”

The 27-year old beauty also addressed concerns that the US public wouldn’t be able to understand her strong Geordie twang, telling the newspaper: “I’m hoping people are going to embrace it.”

“I’m not worried (about my accent). It’s going to be interesting. I hear a lot of accents here too.”

The Fight For This Love singer continued: “I’m sure there will be words or phases where people are like, excuse me?”

Cole’s fellow judge, former Def Jam chairman L.A. Reid was also on hand to offer his opinion on Cheryl, confessing that he has “never listened” to her music.

Music mogul L.A Reid

When asked about Reid’s comments, Chezza admitted: “I quite like it, it means I feel really challenged. I have so much respect for LA Reid. I’ve always admired him, so it’s great for me.”

She added: “It’s one of those moments where you don’t know what to say or how to feel.”
The Daily Mail reports that Cheryl appeared nervous during the auditions, apparently telling the crowds: “I hope you are all looking forward to getting to know me.”

Simon also offered his opinion on how Chezza will go down in the US, stating: “She’s nervous and so she should be. But when I came out here for the first time nobody knew who I was. I just said I’ll do the job I’m being paid to do and hope it works.”

Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones have been confirmed to present The X Factor USA, while Gary Barlow looks set to replace Simon on the UK version of the show.