Cheryl Cole was “double chuffed” last night after hearing she HAS landed a job on US X Factor – ending months of feverish speculation.
Simon Cowell worked flat-out to persuade TV network bosses to offer her the deal.
But what cracked it was how many Americans in the street had taken the Geordie beauty to their hearts. Fears that they did not know the Girls Aloud singer started to vanish when TV bosses saw the public flocking to auditions for the show.
A source said: “Doubts over Cheryl’s profile seem to have been dismissed by the reaction to her from people turning up.
“Fox TV bigwigs dropped many of their o bjections to her having a judging slot.
“If she can win over fans so early in her American adventure she can become a household name when the series starts.”
Cheryl will be signing a £1.1million contract later this month. A source close to Cowell said: “Even though she is still relatively unknown, Simon told Fox TV executives that Cheryl will prove an instant success with viewers when the series begins.
“He believes Cheryl has that rare ability to connect with viewers that few others have.”
Pals of Cheryl, 27, last night said she was “double chuffed, just so happy” that Cowell, 51, had taken a chance by backing her.
US X Factor goes on air in September – and more than 18,000 hopefuls went to the first open auditions in Los Angeles last week.
Thousands of them told producers they were fans of Cheryl. An insider said: “The bigwigs from Fox suddenly woke up and realised Simon might have been on to something with her.
“They were really impressed by how popular she already is. That clinched it for her.”
Cheryl returned to the UK last week after nearly a month in LA recording an album. Her friendship with Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, 36, and Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough, 25, has upped her US fame rating.
Now that she has become the third confirmed judge, beside Cowell and US music producer LA Reid, speculation is hotting up as to who will fill the vacant fourth judge’s seat. Singers Jessica Simpson, 25, and Fergie, 36, of the Black Eyed Peas, are in the running. Both rival Cheryl for glamour.
Cowell is aiming high because after he left American Idol last year they hired global superstars Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler. Mariah Carey was in the frame for US X Factor but was ruled out because she is due to give birth to twins.
An insider said: “Simon wants to put American Idol in the shade.” The show’s former judge Paula Abdul looks like a US X Factor non-starter but hip-hop diva Nicki Minaj is a possibility. The insider added: “After taking the risk on Cheryl he’s having second thoughts about hiring a former Idol judge.”
ITV chiefs had a meeting with Cowell in London on Wednesday and made it clear they wanted both him and Cheryl to commit to UK X Factor. The pair could end up doing both and flying back and forth over the Atlantic.
The US X Factor winner will receive a Sony Music recording contract worth £3.1million – three times what the British winner gets.
UK X Factor auditions start in May and it is expected to begin on ITV1 in August.