British singing star Cheryl Cole will have to wait just a little longer to conquer America. She’s been replaced as a judge on the new US version of The X Factor after producers grew increasingly uncomfortable with her thick “Geordie accent” and lack of chemistry with fellow female panelist Paula Abdul. She’s been replaced with Pussycat Dolls frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger, 32, who had originally been tipped to co-host the talent show with British unknown Steve Jones. Nicole actually filled in for Cheryl, who, until recently was a judge of the UK version of the show.
X Factor boss Simon Cowell always backed Cheryl for the job and her close friendship with manager and Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am also helped during negotiations with the network. But it was not too be. Cole has already sat on the judging panel for auditions in cities around the US, but there had been concerns about contestants and audiences not understanding her Geordie accent. On May 10, the first day of auditions, the 27-year-old said Americans can always understand her.
“I’ve been here a lot, I’ve got a lot of American friends and we have the odd moments where they’re like ‘What? – What did that mean?’ – you know, a phrase,” she said. “But I think that it’s going to be something that people get used to. And I’m proud of my accent.”
A former talent show hopeful herself, Cole became the UK’s sweetheart after rising to fame as the lead vocalist of the English girl group Girls Aloud, which was found during a season of the UK show Popstars: The Rivals. Even a 2004 assault charge stemming from an allegedly racially-motivated attack on a London bathroom attendant couldn’t dim Cheryl’s star in the eyes of the adoring British public.