The X Factor doesn't premiere until September, but Nicole Scherzinger -- who replaced British singer Cheryl Cole on the judging panel -- has already become fast friends with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Antonio "L.A." Reid.
According to the "Wet" singer, the foursome even shares a dressing room backstage. "Simon calls it the judges' lounge -- everything's open -- so we all goof around, eat, and get ready in the same place," Scherzinger, 33, tells Marie Claire's September issue. "I'm the luckiest person to get a front-row ticket to the Simon and Paula show."
Born in Hawaii and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Scherzinger -- who won a spot in the girl group Eden's Crush via the 2001 reality show Popstars -- says she earned the right to sit beside Cowell, 51, Abdul, 49, and Reid, 55.
"I've fought my way to where I am and will continue to do so. I'm a hard worker -- I get it from my family. We only know work. Nothing was handed to us," Scherzinger says. "When I believe in something, I go after it. It's very hard to tell me 'no.'"
That can-do attitude helped Scherzinger find the courage to leave the Pussycat Dolls to embark on a solo career. "With the Pussycat Dolls, I had four other girls to fall back on -- we were a gang, a team, and that gives you extra confidence. Now I'm bringing it all on my own," she tells Marie Claire.
"I've been working toward this my whole life. This album [Killer Love] is my dream. Everything is timing," she adds. "My music is the driving engine, and The X Factor is where I can give back to the contestants —- pay it forward, since I got my start on reality shows. I'm ready to take it all on."