Now that Fox has confirmed that Cheryl Cole will be replaced as a judge on the U.S. version of The X Factor, Simon Cowell is finally opening up about what went wrong with his experiment to import the pop star from the British edition of the show. “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,” Cowell told the Daily Mirror. “The overall feeling was that she was slightly out of her comfort zone in America, compared to what she was in the UK.” To help Cole out — and to prop up the British X Factor, which had lost both Cowell and Cole as judges — Cowell offered her the chance to return to the British show for more money.
“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. But the big condition was that it was to be kept under wraps and she would make a big entrance last week at the Birmingham auditions and everyone would have loved it. But when the story got out, it changed everything. There was no more communication and we had set a deadline of Sunday, giving her six days to make a decision. That passed and we still had not heard anything. So we announced our UK judges.
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.”
Negotiations ensued, but Cowell says that by Saturday, neither Cole nor her manager Will.I.Am would return his calls, so Fox was forced to announce that Cole would be replaced by Nicole Scherzinger. It’s a messy way for Cowell to begin, but if there’s an upside, it’s that the Cole imbroglio has got people talking: The X Factor has leapt up to No. 2 on Vulture’s Anticipation Index.