Everyone’s a Critic: Juggling judges
September 27th, 2011
05:35 PM ET

Everyone’s a Critic: Juggling judges

Last week saw the highly anticipated debut of “X Factor,” the latest entry into the singing competition genre.

The two-hour premiere gave us talent, drama, tears… and five judges?!?

Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and L.A. Reid are filling three of the four judges’ chairs. The fourth seat was originally intended for U.K. singer Cheryl Cole. She was dropped during the show’s audition rounds and replaced by singer Nicole Scherzinger.

When this “scandal” (and I use those quotes as liberally as I can) went down over the summer, it was kind of a big deal. “X Factor” was being pumped as a mega show, a potential competitor/successor to “American Idol.” The fact that it had struggles out of the gate might have been an ominous sign.

In the months between the judging switch and the actual premiere of the show, however, memories of the issue faded. Promotions for the show featured Scherzinger, Cole was mentioned less, and it seemed like everyone had moved on.

That is, until the premiere last Wednesday. In the first “meet your judges” segment, there was Cole. She was given the full introduction treatment just like Cowell, Abdul and Reid, and she was sitting on the judging panel for the Los Angeles auditions, which lasted around one hour.

But when the show moved to Seattle for the second half of the premiere, Cole was swapped out with Scherzinger, who was given the same full introduction treatment and her seat on the judging panel.

When Cole was dropped as a judge, there were all sorts of rumors about why it might have happened. Her accent was too thick for American audiences. (I didn’t think so.) She didn’t mesh well with the other judges. (Who cares?) Producers thought she would be more comfortable doing the U.K. version. (Whatever.)

The point is, the “scandal” was months ago! Why was the show, of all media, bringing this back up, even inadvertently?

This has nothing to do with the individual merits of Cole or Scherzinger as judges. I thought they were both fine. But reading about the switch-out and seeing it happen on TV are very different.

If Cole had been a judge through ALL of the auditions, fine. I could understand that you wouldn’t be able to avoid showing her involvement.

Let’s say the L.A. auditions featured an inordinate amount of talent and the show just couldn’t bear to skip those auditions. You know how everyone complains about “creative editing” in reality shows? This would have been the time to use it!

But you’re telling me that producers never considered a solution better than “well, we’ll just brush it aside and hope the audience doesn’t notice”?

There’s nothing wrong with “X Factor” when it features Nicole Scherzinger. There was nothing wrong with “X Factor” when it featured Cheryl Cole. But the fact that the show brought the change back up after it was long forgotten triggers reminders that there MIGHT have been something wrong. And producers have to hope that first impression isn’t a lasting one.

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. miki

    Nicole will be PERFECTION.. i dont know that girl Cheryl Coce

    September 28, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dorothy Tait

    Simon why don't you and your Paula ride off into the sunset and give some decent judges a chance to judge some real talent.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. Andrew

    I turned on "The X Factor" last week, not knowing who Cheryl Cole was, and fell in love with her. I thought she was charming, infectious, and I wish I could marry her accent. That whole hour, I couldn't stop saying, "I LOVE HER!" Then, she disappeared, and Nicole was put in and she was annoying, and I was devastated. I really hope they play the Chicago auditions that she supposedly taped, because I really love her, and think the show would be stronger with her on it.

    September 27, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. David

    I thought Cheryl was fantastic and I think she would have been great for the show, but what is done is done. Anyway I think the reason they have not completely cut her out is because she was at the LA auditions and the Chicago auditions, so perhaps there was too much to cut.

    September 27, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kate

    didnt knw cheryl before the show but i, along with 4 other pple watching the first episode thought she was absolutely charming and adorable, much more so than Nicole, who came across as bossy and fake.

    i also think cheryl's sweet nature would have contrasted nicely with LA Reid's harsher, serious outlook.

    u only have too look at the twitter trends in US as well as World Wide while the show was on and read the live feed tweets to realize that chery and LA Reid did no less than steal the whole show last wednesday night

    September 27, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • patricia

      it’s easy to love the one that’s gone, but Nicole is by far more credible as a judge I think.

      September 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
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    September 27, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sarah

    What's the big deal about Cheryl Cole? who cares if she is on or off the X Factors. Personally, I love Nicole and thought she was great when on the UK show and I am sure Nicole will be just as good on USA versiion. Cheryl Cole was made big by Simon Cowell and now we are all bored of her and she's grasping at anything she can to stay in the limelight. Bottom line – Cheryl got sacked by professionals who know what they are doing and I would put my money on Fox bosses for getting it right. Nothing against Cheryl but I find her quite dull and moody, almost as if the smile is for the cameras and she often looks as if she lacks confidence. Nicole has that confidence that Cheryl does not and that is why Nicole is a Judge and not Cheryl. Head to head Nicole is a better singer, where as Cheryl cannot sing and mimes. Stop hating on Nicole and Tulisa (UK) over Cheryl, she's not worth it.

    September 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • eve

      Amen to everything said! kudos 🙂 I wish everyone could jst drop this and let it rest geez. Nicole is here to stay suckers!

      September 28, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. Anomic Office Drone

    This show is far from being something in my wheel house, but I wouldn't have been more likely at least give it a chance if they had kept Cheryl Cole.

    September 27, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lisa

    Cheryl was AWESOME as a judge on X Factor and to Simon you are a HORRIBLE person for firiing Cheryl from the show, I WILL NEVER WATCH X FACTOR U.S. AND NICOLE MUSIC SUCKS ! from a proud American fan of Cheryl

    September 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
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    September 27, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |

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