There are at least two openings for judges on "The X Factor" because Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, as well as host Steve Jones, were fired from the show in January.
The contract is reportedly worth $15 million — a huge pay raise from the $2.5 million that Abdul received during the show's first season, according to TMZ.com.
“The fact that she’s one of the most talked about — not just pop stars, but people — in the world today means that you’ve got this star power,” Cowell told Billy Bush in February on “The Billy Bush Show.” “She’s still hot, she’s still having hit records, and she’s still controversial. There’s a reason for that.”
Among the other bold-faced names that producers apparently considered for the openings were Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Pink and Whitney Houston, before her death in February.
Cowell could use the boost coming from a pop megastar who has sold more than 10 million copies of an album twice.
The former "American Idol" fixture predicted the Americanized version of his popular British show "The X Factor" would draw 20 million or more viewers in its debut season last fall.
It didn't, averaging closer to 12 million.