Simon Cowell Officially Appoints New X Factor Judge

 Steve Granitz/; Jamie McCarthy/

After months of speculation, Simon Cowell has officially chosen the second member of The X Factor's judging panel.

The former Chairman of Island Def Jam records, Antonio "L.A." Reid will join Cowell, 51, on the panel critiquing undiscovered talent for the FOX series that premieres this fall.

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Though names like Paula Abdul and Cheryl Cole have long been floated as judge possibilities, Cowell says the Grammy-winner, 54, was top of mind when it came to picking the panel.

"L.A. was my number one choice to sit alongside me on the show," Cowell tells in a statement released by the network Friday. "In my opinion, he is one of the greatest ever music executives and of course a fantastic writer and producer. I am thrilled he has agreed to join the show, and for any artist auditioning, they know they have the chance to meet a true star-maker."

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Having a hand in launching the careers of Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Jay-Z and Mariah Carey, Reid has earned three Grammy Awards and seen 33 of his hits reach No. 1.

"I am proud to stand next to my dear friend Simon, one of the world’s most gifted and charismatic talent magnets," Reid says. "The X Factor provides an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring artists of every age and genre to showcase their unique talents. I truly look forward to discovering our next generation of superstars."

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Want to take part in Cowell and Reid's new series? Solo artists and vocal groups over age 12 can audition for the series starting March 27 in Los Angeles. The winner of the series will pocket a $5 million recording contract from Cowell's Syco/SonyMusic imprint.

Additional judges and the show's host will be announced at a later date.

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