On the same night that his former cohorts at "American Idol" were celebrating unprecedented voting totals in the showdown between Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina and crowning their new champ, former "Idol" lead judge Simon Cowell was reportedly putting out a major fire on his upcoming show "X Factor."
After announcing with much fanfare earlier this month that one of his favorite "Factor" judges from the original U.K. version, Girls Aloud star Cheryl Cole, would be joining him, fellow ex-"Idol" panelist Paula Abdul and former music industry honcho Antonio "L.A." Reid on the "Factor" panel, TMZ reported that Cole had been unexpectedly dumped from the show.
A spokesperson for "X Factor" did not return requests for comment at press time, but TMZ added that former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger, who was to serve as one of two hosts on the show, was tapped to replace Cole. The gossip site later explained that Cole was removed "largely because producers were concerned her thick Newcastle English accent would be too difficult for an American audience to understand," citing unnamed sources close to the show.
There was reportedly also a lack of chemistry between Cole and Abdul, but the bigger issue is how producers will deal with Cole's presence at the March 27 Los Angeles audition rounds when the show is cut for airing in September. A source told Deadline Hollywood that there is "no way to do away with that footage. A lot of talented people have auditioned there. It will have to be carefully edited with cutaways."