August 5th, 2011
03:54 PM ET
There was a healthy amount of rumor surrounding Cheryl Cole's exit from "The X Factor" on both sides of the pond. First she was supposedly dropped from the judges panel of Fox's "X Factor" because her accent was too thick, and then there was an inkling it was because she didn't get along with fellow judge Paula Abdul.
Days later, the former Girls Aloud songstress wasn't included in an announcement of judges for the U.K. "X Factor" either, although she'd been a judge on that version since 2008. Whatever went down, what was clear was that Cole had been replaced on the U.S. version by Nicole Scherzinger, who joined judges Abdul, Simon Cowell, and music producer L.A. Reid.
Cole has already broken her silence about the situation, and now, during the "X Factor" panel at the Television Critics Association press tour, so has Cowell.
"I will tell you what happened. We produced this in the U.K.…A few of us made the decision that we felt that Cheryl was going to be more comfortable doing the U.K. show than the U.S. show. She was offered her gig to come back to the U.K. [show] but she didn't," Cowell said.
As far as the rumors that Cole also didn't get along with Abdul, he goes on, "Well if it was a question of not getting along with Paula then I wouldn’t be on the show. I just thought that Cheryl returning back to the U.K. would be a good headline. When you have to make a decision as a producer you have to do it. Nicole [Scherzinger] has been a revelation."
For her part, Scherzinger added that she's "honored" to be on the judges panel, and agrees with Abdul that the group is like a big, dysfunctional family.
"This show [feels] completely different," Abdul says. "I never witnessed so much talent in each of the four categories. There are stars that are gonna emerge. Mentoring will be extremely intense. Simon is a completely different species on this show. He has turned into me. He has turned into a pussycat."
Well, perhaps his version of a pussycat. Anyone over the age of 12 can audition for the show, either as an individual or in a group, and the younger contestants "are more lippy than any other contestants," Cowell said. "So I was quite traumatized after my interaction with them...and parents are parents and they go nuts with me anyways."
Of course, Cowell's "X Factor" is far (and we mean far) from being the only singing competition around these days, with "The Voice" being its latest competitor.
"Well we were on the air before them," Cowell says of NBC's hit show. "I think when you watch the show you'll see how we work with contestants and it's very different from 'The Voice'…and I don’t have a problem with 'The Voice.' I like 'The Voice.' You are going to get better made shows when there are more on the air so the competition is good."
But, he goes on, please don't think his show will be anything like "American Idol."
"I wouldn’t have done the show if it wasn’t going to be different," he told reporters. "I felt that the time is now and our job as judges is to find people who have star quality and turn them into stars. This show is completely different from ‘AI,’ even though they are both talent competitions...For the next few months we are going to throw everything at this to make it the very best show."
"The X Factor" premieres on Wednesday, September 21 at 8 p.m. on Fox.
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