Nicole Scherzinger’s former manager has claimed that the drama over her replacing Cheryl Cole as an X Factor judge was a set-up from the very beginning.
Jeff Haddad suggests that the former Pussycat Doll was always intended to be a judge on the US version of the reality pop show, and that Cole was used as a stooge to whip up publicity. It was finally confirmed last week that Scherzinger would be the fourth judge, alongside Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Antonio 'LA' Reid.
Haddad said: "In my opinion, Simon Cowell always wanted Nicole as a judge. There was never a question that she wouldn’t get it. Nicole was always going to be on the judging panel. Cheryl was just being used as a cog in the wheel to cause hype and publicize the show," according to The Mirror.
He continued: "I had long discussions with Simon about her judging the US show and she was always a front-runner. Cheryl's name never came into it and Nicole was never supposed to be a host. Her hosting the show wasn’t even mentioned."
He also rubbished suggestions that Cole's departure was down to US audiences struggling to understand her north-eastern accent: "Cheryl's accent never came into it – it was a cover-up excuse. Americans are used to all sorts of accents – it would have worked in her favour, if anything. Plus, she's a great girl and an accent wouldn't have been a factor in getting rid of her."
Furthermore, he claimed that Cole's 'booking' was actually a stunt to launch Cole's US career, suggesting that she may could been in on it from the start. He said: "Simon says Cheryl will definitely feature in the TV show because of the contestants she judged – but it's how they make the transition from Cheryl to Nicole without it looking too strange. They're thinking of billing her as a guest judge."