Simon Cowell Confirms Names On Short List For ‘The X Factor’ Judging Panel; Includes Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger

Simon Cowell has finally confirmed some celebrity names that are in the running for spots on “The X Factor” judges panel, when the show launches on FOX this fall.

In a new interview with’s Laura Saltman, Simon confirmed that George Michael, former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger, Mariah Carey and Paula Abdul are all being considered for the show, but no one is a lock.

“Have you talked to her?” Laura asked, referring to the very pregnant Mariah Carey.

“Yeah, I’ve spoken to her. I mean literally, we’ve spoken to lots of people. I’ve spoken to Paula… " Simon told Laura.

“Are they calling you or are you calling them?” Laura asked.

“Both. And then new people come along… [Two days ago], we met somebody who I’ve never met before in my life, who I just loved. And that’s why it’s good to kind of delay the process. It’s not about necessarily the TV show per se, it’s people. You genuinely gotta trust that they’re gonna be able to do the job you’re paying them to do. And like I said, a hit-maker who worked in America and has had experience, I think is crucial to this panel as well.”

Simon admitted that Paula is actually on a narrowed down list of stars, and he is seriously considering reuniting with his former “American Idol” judge table buddy.

“We’ve taken it down to a smaller group of people and she’s in that panel,” Simon said. “But, you know, it’s more than me who makes the decision.”

At least two names that were bandied about months ago are definitely not on the short list, including Katy Perry and upcoming royal wedding attendee, Elton John. Simon told Laura he “never” spoke to Elton about joining “The X Factor” panel, and he doesn’t think the “Tiny Dancer” would work as a judge.

“Well, he’s so grumpy nowadays, I mean, it would be like, he’d just be moaning the whole time,” Simon said of his fellow, opinionated Brit.

“If we’ve got somebody with kids, he’s more than welcome to come along and run the nursery,” Simon added, referring to Elton’s new status as a dad. “So if you’re watching, Elton, there’s another job. I’m serious. He can do it.”

As previously reported on, Simon’s “The X Factor,” which premiers on FOX this fall, will offer the winner a $5 million prize, but it might not just be one winner if the persnickety judge has his way.

“We want groups to audition, but any type of group — choirs. I’d like to find the next *NSYNC, the next Spice Girls, the next Jackson 5… anything. So we’ve taken all the rules off,” Simon noted.

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