Nicole Scherzinger's job as a sub just became a full-time gig.
The former Pussycat Doll, who had been filling in at the judges' table on The X Factor during auditions after Cheryl Cole was recently given the boot, will indeed be a permanent fixture on the panel, it was announced today.
The not exactly surprising news comes after much talk about why Cole was supposedly let go and whether or not she would be returning. So, given this seemingly definitive word about Cheryl's future, is there any chance she could come back?
Never say never, but well, no.
Immediately after the British pop star was ousted a couple of weeks back, rumors began running rampant as to what may have led to her dismissal from the American version of the highly anticipated Simon Cowell show, with much of the speculation focused on Cole's working relationship with now former fellow judge Abdul.
A show source tells E! News that Abdul and Cole were like "oil and water," with Cole feeling like Abdul had ruined the dynamic she had developed with Cowell. What's more, the "lack of chemistry" between the two ladies primarily stemmed from both of them constantly complaining to producers about each other, says the source, adding that Cole's dropping wasn't so much a blindside as a mutual decision. The source says Cole knew the writing was on the wall and that The X Factor would ultimately be more about Abdul than her. (Um, shouldn't it be about the contestants, anyway?)
As if that weren't enough, there had also been the apparent concerns over Cole's thick accent being too tough for American audiences to understand.
That all being said, however, there were reports that as quickly as Cole was shown the door, she might find herself walking back through it again--thanks to none other than Cowell himself, who, despite the supposed concerns surrounding Cole, really wanted to bring her back to the judges table when auditions resumed in New Jersey this week.
But given this morning's press release--rather tellingly, the first official on-record comment issued since the judges table first started imploding--confirming that Cole was out, that's a pretty unlikely scenario. If it took this long to set the record straight, producers probably aren't in any rush to go back on their word.
Of course, they're probably equally unwilling to part with their cash, as they'll have to do whether or not Cheryl returns. Per her contract, Cole would apparently still receive her reported $1.5 million salary whether she appeared on The X Factor or not--so maybe they want one last attempt at getting their money's worth?
Bottom line question: Would it have been better to keep Cole around and put her to work since she'll get paid regardless, or simply cut ties altogether?
--Additional reporting by Ken Baker