Cheryl Cole is officially out. After weeks of reports that the British pop star and reality show judge had been ousted from the upcoming U.S. version of Simon Cowell’s singing competition “The X Factor,” the show’s producers confirmed the split on Monday (June 6).
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the statement also confirmed that Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger — originally set to be the show’s co-host — will replace the Girls Aloud star, who was also reportedly dropped from the British version of “X Factor.”
“Nicole Scherzinger will be replacing Cheryl Cole on the judging panel of ’The X Factor,’ ” read the statement. “Nicole will join Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid and Paula Abdul on their search across America to find the next global superstar or group to win the life-changing $5 million dollar recording deal. Nicole has previously joined Simon Cowell as a guest judge on ’The X Factor’ for the U.K. version of the show in 2010. Steve Jones will act as sole host of ’The X Factor.’ ”
The statement offered no explanation for why Cole was dumped from the panel or how the production will deal with footage that was already shot for two audition episodes at the recent Los Angeles tryouts. An unnamed source told the Reporter that Cole was let go because she did not have good chemistry with the other judges, Abdul in particular. “There was no spark,” the source said. “It was nobody’s fault. It just didn’t work.”
A spokesperson for the show could not be reached for comment at press time to confirm another Reporter story, which claimed that Cole was still going to be paid the $1.5 million she was owed under her contract.
The statement ended almost two weeks of drama over the judging panel of Cowell’s show, a heavily hyped return to American television for the former lead “American Idol” judge. Unlike other new singing competition programs, such as NBC’s hit “The Voice,” and, arguably, “Idol,” the panel for “X Factor” is light on pop-star talent. Those shows have both succeeded by putting an interesting mix of veteran and contemporary singing stars on their panels and highlighting the chemistry between them.
A source told Reuters that Cole was not dumped, as rumored, due to her strong Northern English accent, or as an elaborate PR stunt to hype the show, but because she simply lacked the right personality onscreen.
“She wasn’t herself. After four days of filming, she wasn’t what the producers had expected,” an unnamed source told the news service.
The next round of auditions for the show will take place in New Jersey on Wednesday.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Cowell denied that the lack of chemistry with Abdul was the issues and lamented that the ugly split may have caused a rift in his relationship with Cole.
“I hate seeing her hurt. She’s one of — I hope — she’s one of my closest friends, and this was a decision we made which we thought would be beneficial to her, funny enough,” said Cowell, who has long championed Cole and praised her work on the British version of “X Factor.”
“She was good on the American show,” Cowell said. “I personally thought she was missing her family and friends. She just looked a little bit, I wouldn’t say uncomfortable, but just not as happy as I’ve seen her on previous shows.”