Is she or isn’t she? For the past few weeks, the rumours regarding Cheryl Cole’s X Factor USA status have been flying back and forth. But finally we have a definitive answer – Cheryl is out.
Just released, an official statement from the makers of the show: “Fox, FremantleMedia North America and Syco TV today confirm Nicole Scherzinger will be replacing Cheryl Cole on the judging panel of The X Factor.
“Nicole will join Simon Cowell, LA 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 UK version of the show in 2010. Steve Jones will act as sole host of The X Factor.”
But how did it come to this?
Reasons cited for Cheryl’s departure have included US audiences’ difficulty understanding her Geordie accent, her apparent lack of chemistry with judge Paula Abdul, her low profile in America and her poor performances in initial recordings of the show.
There have even been suggestions that an incident from the then Girls Aloud star’s past, in which she punched a black toilet attendant in a nightclub, unsettled Fox bosses who supposedly worried it could alienate a section of their audience.
Now, following the official confirmation that Cheryl has been dropped, Simon Cowell says he was worried that the US experience had all been a bit too much for her.
“Knowing Cheryl like I know her, we noticed she was quieter than normal, looked a bit uncomfortable, but I put some of this down to nerves. The overall feeling was that she was slightly out her comfort zone in America, compared to what she was in the UK.
“America is a bear pit, and it’s tough to crack when no-one knows you.
“The hardest thing to accept is that everyone has painted me as a monster because I embarrassed her, but the truth was I was protecting her. I just want people to be in the best place at the right time.”
And he revealed that Cheryl had been offered a chance to return to the UK version of The X Factor.
“If she had accepted my original offer, she would have made a sensational return and would have understood she was more comfortable in the UK than the US.”
“When she turned down the UK show, we got back in touch and said, ‘well she is still under contract with the US show’ so we invited her back. Her position was still there.”
Amid suggestions that Fox were attempting to avoid paying Cole’s salary on a technicality, her manager, Black Eyed Peas member Will.i.am, entered the debate.
“We had some heated conversations with her US manager Will.i.am,” says Cowell, “and he inferred this wasn’t a genuine offer. They thought that if she didn’t turn up on Wednesday then we wouldn’t pay her.
“We made it clear that she was always going to be paid in full. We got to the point on Saturday when we genuinely thought she was going to accept the offer but again neither she nor they returned any calls. So we’ve announced Nicole.”
Whatever the full story behind the whole debacle, then, it’s not all bad news for Cheryl. She will apparently still receive her full £1.2 million salary, despite only completing four days work on the show.