Yesterday we learned officially that Cheryl Cole will NOT be judging the US version of The X Factor and will be replaced by former Pussycat Dolls frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger. Today we are hearing from Simon Cowell, the man in charge, about the decision to axe Cheryl from the show. Simon is apologizing for the “anguish and embarrassment” that this incident has caused Cheryl Cole but he insists he was only trying to protect her … or some nonsense like that. Read on to hear what Simon Cowell has to say about Cheryl Cole’s elimination from The X Factor.
Simon Cowell last night broke his silence to explain why he killed off Cheryl Cole’s American dream. The 51-year-old claimed he thought she would be happy to move back to the UK version of The X Factor but admitted he bottled out of telling her. Instead, he sent X Factor’s executive producer Richard Holloway to deliver the bad news. Cowell said: “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.” Earlier, bosses confirmed that after failing to respond to their offer to come back, she had been officially replaced on the US panel by ex-Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger – who arrived for an interview in London for the Graham Norton Show. Cheryl filmed just four episodes of the US version of X Factor last month. Tensions started after the first audition in Los Angeles on May 8 when Cowell told Cheryl to contribute more. After the Chicago auditions on May 19, Cowell conceded she had to go. She was sacked on May 25 before the show even hit TV screens – but show bosses did an unexpected U-turn when they offered Cheryl her job back on Saturday and gave her 24 hours to decide. Cowell insisted it was a genuine offer but he admits it caused rows. He added: “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. We had some heated conversations with her US manager Will.i.am 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.” Cowell explained he and TV bosses had previously decided Cheryl was “uncomfortable” on the US show and felt offering her the chance to return to the UK X Factor would be the best option. He confirmed the deal would have been worth £2.5million if she agreed to it, but talks broke down when news of her problems in America began to leak out. He said: “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. 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 … I apologise that all this has become public and I understand the stress she is under, and I hate that. But we have all been under a lot of stress. When things like this happen I look at the contestant, they must think this is crazy. All the attention is on us. I am sorry this has caused so much anguish and embarrassment, but I stand by what I believe was the right intention. And I would say that to her face right now.” Cowell insisted he hoped to still be friends with Cheryl, despite their spectacular fall out and war of words via their friends, which has been played out in the media for two weeks. He said: “I had a text from her last Wednesday. She said she felt let down but at the time she understood that it was a professional decision. I replied saying this was never personal or saying you were terrible. It wasn’t that she was terrible – she was good – I just thought she’d be happier in the UK … A hundred per cent I have to take full responsibilty because I do have a lot of sway. We are close friends. I still hope we are but sometimes when you’re that close, when you’re making these decisions with someone’s life you have to be certain. I stand by what I said to her. I hope we’re still close friends. I’m sure if she was here now there would be a frank discussion, but will I work with her again? Definitely. She’s a star.”
Wow … well, at least Simon seems very clear in laying out exactly what went down. You may recall that last weekend, we learned of a report where it was claimed that Cowell was trying to figure out a way to get Cheryl back on board with X Factor and it sounded like she was going to take back the job but, if Simon is to be believed, Cheryl’s new manager Will.i.am threw a monkey wrench in negotiations and soured the entire deal. Now Cheryl is out, Nicole is in. What a mess. Personally, I think it was a bad idea for Cheryl Cole to sign Will.i.am as her manager. The first and only thing he’s done for her is advise her OUT of this X Factor job. Here’s hoping better days are ahead for Cheryl … but at least now we know how everything went down with this failed X Factor mess.