Simon Cowell's FOX singing contest series "The X Factor" has been renewed for a second season, weeks after its debut.
The show features the ex-"American Idol" personality back on the judges' panel, along with former co-star Paula Abdul, "Pussycat Dolls" singer Nicole Scherzinger and music executive L.A. Reid.
"I am absolutely thrilled with the news," Cowell said about the show's renewal, in a statement released by the network on Wednesday, November 2. "I have loved making the show and I want to thank FOX, our sponsors and most importantly, the fans for supporting 'The X Factor."
"The X Factor" debuted on September 21 to strong ratings and was watched by more than 12 million people. It has become one of the most-watched new shows this season. FOX says it averages 13 million viewers.
The show is down to 12 finalists, who are set to perform in an episode airing on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. Voting by fans will open for the first time this season and fans can choose their favorite contestants via Twitter, toll-free calls, the show's official website and through the "X Factor" Facebook page. Customers of Verizon Wireless can also vote via text message or through the show's Android app.
On Thursday, November 3, one finalist is expected to be eliminated. The episode will also feature a performance by rapper Outasight, FOX said.
Cowell quit "American Idol," the network's breakout hit, after the end of the ninth season in 2010 and said on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in May that two years ago, as ratings began to decline, he became bored with the series. The show was later revamped with two new judges - Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, while Randy Jackson remained put.
"The X Factor" is based on a show that he judged and developed in the United Kingdom.
The U.S. version of the show offers its winner a $5 million record deal - which is reportedly the most valuable such prize among all past similar programs.
"The X Factor" also sees the judges stepping away from their table and mentoring contestants personally.
This format is similar to that of the NBC singing contest series, "The Voice." The show, which features judges Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton, debuted earlier this year and is set to return for season 2 in January 2012, along with "American Idol," which will premiere its 11th season.