- Associated Press - Monday, February 7, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The judging panel for Simon Cowell’s U.S. version of “The X Factor” has yet to be set and he suggested Paula Abdul is in the running.

During a teleconference Monday, Cowell reaffirmed that he’s a “massive fan” of Paula Abdul, his former “American Idol” colleague. But he’s still deciding who will join him in judging his new talent contest and the panel won’t be announced for several weeks.

“The X Factor” is set to debut next fall on Fox. Cowell exited the network’s “American Idol” in part to focus on the new show, which has been a successful format in several countries since its debut in Britain in 2004.

The winner of “X Factor” will get a $5 million record deal, which Cowell said won’t be a “dressed up” sum: The top contestant will get $1 million a year for five years, separate from the costs involved in recording and promotion.

“It’s a massive, massive risk but it’s also an incredible incentive. It puts everybody, rightly, under an enormous amount of pressure,” Cowell said, adding, “I believe I can find a star.”