Nicole Scherzinger Officially Replaces Cheryl Cole on U.S. X-Factor

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Just six weeks ago we provided a primer to Cheryl Cole, the least-known of the announced judges of Fox’s forthcoming Simon Cowell-helmed reality singing show X-Factor, and ever since there’s been a roller-coaster of gossip about drama behind the scenes. Just a month after joining the show (and two weeks after the show’s first auditions), Cole was allegedly replaced as a judge by X-Factor host Nicole Scherzinger. Five days later, negotiations for Cole’s return to the UK version of X-Factor also fell through. But Fox and X-Factor producers Fremantle Media and Syco TV only today announced Cole’s departure from the American edition, set to launch this fall.

Why the delay? Apparently Cole’s contract stipulates that she gets paid whether or not she appears on the show. So while Cowell may have wanted Cole out (to the extent that she and he can no longer come to an agreement to work together in the UK), the show likely didn’t want to have to write off a buck and a half so easily. (This also helps explain why Cole’s replacement was someone already on the show’s payroll.)

Scherzinger has guest-judged on the UK X-Factor before, but will she be able to hold her own beside Cowell, L.A. Reid, and Paula Abdul?