U.K. singer and near-miss-U.S. X Factor judge Cheryl Cole revealed Tuesday in an interview with London’s Daily Star that she has no plans to break into the U.S. pop music scene, crushing the dreams of her Stateside “soldiers” (you can’t be a pop star in 2012 without naming your fan base).
Cole is a star to millions outside the U.S. who know her as a member of Girls Aloud, a U.K. girl group formed through the reality show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002. Here, she’s mostly known for being unceremoniously booted from the American version of The X Factor and replaced by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger only weeks before the show’s debut. Little reason was given for cutting Cole, who was a judge on the original U.K. edition of the show and had already taped initial audition rounds in the U.S. — other than the fact that Cowell said she looked “uncomfortable” on the panel.
Since then, Cole has been working on her her third studio album, A Million Lights, due June 18 in her home country. This week, she also announced a string of fall tour dates to support the album, but not a single one finds Cole crossing the pond to promote the album here.
It’s a shame, really. If Rihanna can find success with “We Found Love,” Cole’s new single certainly has it what it takes. “Call My Name,” also produced by Calvin Harris, is loaded with hypnotic synths and a humming, subwoofer-rattling bass line. More importantly, its video features a kick-ass dance routine that involves the kind of booty shaking, crotch grabbing, and hard-to-follow footwork that Stateside pop stars’ hits are habitually made of.
With great dance routines come great scrutiny, however. Though some performances have shown off her vocal chops, Cole isn’t immune to accusations of lip synching or relying too heavily on a backing track to aid her energetic live performances — just watch fans and detractors battle it out in YouTube comments. (Though again, doesn’t that qualify her to join her American peers?).
Plus, is there any better time for a British artist to set their sights on this country? One Direction, who were formed through the U.K. X Factor, debuted atop the charts here this year, and other English acts ranging from the Wanted to Ellie Goulding and of course the chart mother of them all, Adele, have easily climbed the Hot 100 this past year.
And Cole does get some help from friends in high places. Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas has long been a supporter, featuring her on his song “Heartbreaker” in 2008 and lending production or cowriting on all three of her albums. Vampire Weekend were so impressed when they heard her song “Fight For This Love” that they performed a cover themselves, and Adele herself called Cole “her favorite person ever” when she covered Cole’s hit “Promise This.”
So what gives — is Cheryl simply not the kind of pop star America wants, or is she just giving up too easy? Give us your take in the comments below.