LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Simon Cowell wants his former "American Idol" sparring partner Paula Abdul and British singer Cheryl Cole join him on the U.S. version of his TV contest "The X Factor."
But the music impresario told entertainment industry website Deadline Hollywood that no deals had yet been signed to complete the line-up for the show, which is due to start airing on Fox television in September.
So far only the acid-tongued Briton himself and record executive Antonio "L.A." Reid have been confirmed as judges on "X Factor," which is offering a $5 million prize for the winner and a recording contract.
"I've always wanted Paula," Cowell told Deadline Hollywood in an interview released on Sunday.
"I've never found anyone better than her. I think there's a good chance it will be her. We've agreed we would meet with as many people as possible, and now (that) we're reaching the deadline we've got to make the decision soon. But I think she's got a really good shot," he said.
Cowell added that he would like Cole to join him, although the former Girls Aloud singer and a judge on the U.K. version of "X Factor" is virtually unknown in the United States.
"If people take to her (Cole) like the British public did, I think she's going to do really well in America. And Fox was desperate to hire her," he said.
Cowell also quashed rumors surrounding some of the many other celebrities whose names have been mentioned in the media as potential "X Factor" judges.
They include Sean "Diddy" Combs ("We didn't even approach him"); rapper Snoop Dogg ("I've never once spoken to him about doing the show"); soul singer Cee Lo Green ("We never offered him the show, and he didn't meet our producers"); and Mariah Carey (Cowell said he'd love to have her but she is focusing on the imminent birth of her twins).
Cowell said earlier this month that "X Factor" producers had "25 different opinions" about who should make up the remainder of the judging panel, and host the show.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Dean Gooodman)