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Paula Abdul is officially back.

It took a last-second deal, but the former American Idol judge will rejoin Simon Cowell this fall on Fox, helping to judge The X-Factor. She just released her first statement on the gig:

“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… 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!”

A Kiss from Paula Abdul
Photo via Brian To/WENN.com

The X-Factor kicked off auditions in Los Angeles on Sunday, with Simon and Paula looking as cozy as ever. The former is psyched to be reunited with his friend and co-worker. Said Cowell:

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

[Photo: WENN.com]