Never let it be said that Simon Cowell doesn’t have canny timing. It’s been nearly a month since the first television promo for Fox’s The X Factor premiered during the MLB All-Star Game, but over a month until the show itself premieres on September 21. With auditions taped but under wraps, the show is out of the news. So what better timing for Cowell to come forward with his version of the judges’ table drama that led to the replacement of Cheryl Cole with Nicole Scherzinger? His is certainly a story we want to hear.
The one thing about which Cowell isn’t entirely forthcoming is the exact reason why Cole was let go from the American version of the UK singing competition. (To be fair, this may be for legal reasons.) He merely explains, “After two cities [of US X Factor auditions], I offered her the job back in the UK, [as a replacement for the Fox gig,] which initially she accepted. And then unfortunately when it went public the negotiations fell apart.” Cowell’s stated rationale?that she’d be “more comfortable doing the UK show than the American show,” does little to contradict rumors that Cole’s Geordie accent had tested poorly with American audiences. (So much for airing Geordie Shore in the United States, MTV UK.)
As for the delay in announcing Scherzinger (who Cowell says has been a “revelation”) as a replacement? Cowell claims that when an agreement about the UK X Factor could not be reached, he generously gave Cole the “chance to come back to America,” which she declined (possibly because she’d be getting paid anyway). “I am sorry for the way it worked out as we were incredibly close,” Cowell said. “She is still grumpy with me.” We’re not too worried on Cowell’s behalf; we suspect he’s had lots of experience dealing with people who are “grumpy” with him.