Simon Cowell Praises New ‘X Factor’ Judge L.A. Reid; Says Paula Abdul Still In The Running For Judges’ Seat

Simon Cowell announced the addition of veteran music producer L.A. Reid to his judges’ panel for “The X Factor” last week, and now, the former “American Idol” judge is shooting down rumors that Christina Aguilera was in the running to join the two moguls on the upcoming FOX reality show.

“Never. Honestly, not even a consideration” Simon told Access Hollywood guest correspondent Neil Sean at a junket to promote “The X Factor” auditions in London on Wednesday, when asked if he had considered the “Dirrty” singer for his show, prior to the announcement she had joined the judging panel on NBC’s “The Voice.” “I have certain kinds of people who I’d like to work with, who I feel comfortable with.

“Being cute, being mad is an obvious requirement, because it’s how I live my life and I like the shows to be an extension of how I live my life in terms of friends — the kind of people you’d like to have to your house for dinner,” he continued. “You bring all that into account – not that I wouldn’t want Christina for dinner! — but it’s how I put the team together, because there’s no science to this.”

Simon also revealed his favorite “Idol” sparring partner, Paula Abdul, is still in the running for a seat at the table.

“I’ve always kept [Paula] in the mix. Ever since she left ‘Idol,’ it was never the same show,” he told Neil. “The minute we started working together, we just had the weird relationship where we’d be arguing one second and then really really close. And interestingly, with Paula, even though there’s this wacky side to her, I always thought she had good taste in music.”

He added, “For someone to survive as long as she’s survived in this business and to still be relevant… means she’s interesting… She’s still in the mix and she still has my support.”

As for the addition of music industry mogul L.A. Reid, the blunt Brit said securing the iconic producer for his new endeavor required patience, but it was well worth the wait.

“It took a long time… [L.A.] was under contract to Universal where he was running Island Def Jam,” Simon told Neil. “In the middle of it all, him and I had made a deal with each other – we wanted to work together. If I had to wait another year, I would have done that. But luckily, it all happened quickly.

“The relief [I felt] when I was able to announce him — I think it really proved what I was trying to say all along about this show, which was that we really are serious about this,” he added. “We’re putting up all this money, I’ve got someone really really credible and smart to be on the panel with me who is a hitmaker, and it kind of made this show feel more real at that point. So it was a massive relief.”

“The X Factor” auditions kick off on March 27 in LA.

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