Simon vs. Paula: It's Getting Nasty!

02/17/2005 at 12:00 PM EST

Simon vs. Paula: It's Getting Nasty!
"It is sort of like a sport sometimes with her," says Cowell about Abdul. "Probably because she is so easy to provoke. I can't help myself. It amuses me."
WENN/Landov; Marc Royce

Paula Abdul

Paula Abdul

"It's like a scene out of The Exorcist sometimes," says Simon Cowell of Paula Abdul's dramatic outbursts, which often occur less than six inches from his face. Actually, there've been no swiveling heads or obscenities – yet. But Abdul has been erupting, angrily defending her turf and her opinions against the sarcastic, dismissive Brit. "You take the joy out of me having fun and showing love!" she all but howled at him during the New Orleans auditions. "You are so obnoxious."

During the Hollywood rounds, she grew so heated during a dispute with Cowell, she finally vented by calling over a producer and simply yelling – to no avail – about Simon's opposition. It's almost as if she'd been drinking "diva juice," laughs one producer. Abdul isn't laughing with him. "In terms of judging," she says, "I'm really the force to be reckoned with. Good is always more powerful than evil."

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