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Cheryl Cole: I never saw it coming

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    Posted: 27 May 2011 at 00:16

Cheryl Cole: I never saw it coming

Judge's fury at axing
by Simon Cowell


Published: Today

LIVID Cheryl Cole was "shocked and stunned" last night after being axed from X Factor USA.

And a close pal said: "She never saw it coming."

The 27-year-old pop babe claimed she had been ruthlessly dumped out of the blue by show boss Simon Cowell.

All set ... Cheryl Cole arriving at show

But his camp insisted he told her three days ago her role as a judge "wasn't working" in the US.

Cheryl claimed Cowell had cruelly ditched her from X Factor USA without telling her why or facing her in person.

But sources close to Cowell maintained she knew she was on the way out because American TV executives were "concerned about her performance".

The axing has torpedoed Cheryl's hopes of launching a successful singing career in the States on the back of her X Factor appearances.

The Girls Aloud babe - who had already judged televised auditions - is expected to jet back to Britain today. And she is set to swallow her pride by re-signing as a judge on the UK's X Factor.

But she faced another setback as a Sun online poll revealed 62 per cent of the show's fans DON'T want her to return.

A close friend of Cheryl told how she was seething after her humiliating US ejection.

The pal said: "She is completely shocked and stunned. She never saw this coming at all.

"The fact that Simon didn't tell her in person hurt. She never thought he would do that to her."

Cheryl was further embarrassed when US broadcasters Fox screened an ad for X Factor USA during the American Idol final on Wednesday night - showing only Cowell, 51.

But friends blasted suggestions made by Cowell's camp that she had quit because she was homesick. They said she has spent "loads of time" in Los Angeles and loves it there.

They added that reports of Cheryl's poor profile in America and a rift with fellow US judge Paula Abdul, 48, were equally false. And they dismissed rumours that US fans could not understand her because of her thick Geordie accent.

Does he know something? ... Cowell winks as he poses with Cheryl Cole, right, and surviving judge Paula Abdul
One pal said: "Her language, accent and diction were heavily screen-tested. The network knew exactly what she could do before things kicked off."

But in direct contrast, the Cowell camp insisted the telly mogul HAD spoken to Cheryl about the axe.

They claimed the pair sat down three days ago to discuss fears expressed by Fox bosses that she was not connecting with American viewers.

A source said: "Cheryl can hardly say this was a total shock. She actually knew about it three days ago.

"Simon told her in person at his house that it wasn't working and that he was under so much pressure to release her.

"She knows she has been nervous in her performances and TV execs were privately concerned."

Cheryl's new manager, Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am, had been hoping to use her starring role on the show as a springboard to wider fame in the US.

He was even lining up duets with Rihanna and Usher.

Caught in row ... Tulisa, left, and Nicole Scherzinger
BIG/ NPG.com
But a source said: "This business has blown a big hole in her plans for a music career in the US. It really couldn't have played out any worse.

"No one in America knows who she is and X Factor was supposed to have sorted that out."

Cheryl's replacement is almost certain to be Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, 32. Some sources insisted race ace Lewis Hamilton's girlfriend, who was to have been show host, has always been a "Plan B" option if Cheryl did not work out.

In BRITAIN, X Factor insiders said Cheryl only has to sign a contract to be welcomed back into the fold.

She will have to decide quickly as ITV's filming of auditions starts next Wednesday.

But her return is believed to be virtually a done deal.

That could be bad news for N-Dubz star Tulisa Contostavlos, 22, who was lined up to be a judge but is now likely to make way for Cheryl.

Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland, 30, could also be at risk but is thought to be safer than Tulisa.

So the final judging panel will probably consist of Cheryl, Louis Walsh, 58, Take That's Gary Barlow, 40, and Kelly.

One pal of Cheryl said: "She is hurt but has agreed to come back. She doesn't want her British fans to think she would desert them.

"She is determined to make it clear she hasn't failed. She thinks the blame lies at someone else's doorstep."

Before split ... footie ace Ashley Cole and Cheryl
Cheryl's loyal mum Joan Callaghan was even more bullish.

She told pals: "Cheryl has been paid off to come back to the UK to sort out the show. Simon told her Tulisa just wasn't strong enough. The deal is she will be seen as the head judge, even above Gary Barlow."

X Factor fans in the beauty's home city of Newcastle were gutted for her.

Ben McDonald, 21, said: "Cheryl is great and should be allowed to be on both X Factors - here and in America."

Megan Keeble, 18, who works in a doctor's surgery, said: "It's ridiculous if she has been sacked because of her accent. We understand Americans all right so why don't they understand her?"

But thousands of Sun readers polled online were not so sympathetic.

phil1970 wrote: "i hope she doesnt return to the uk x factor, her going to the usa and leaving the uk and then backtracking just shows how 2 faced she would be."

No1son said: "Hope she does not come back to the UK one."

But celebrities were quick to support Cheryl on Twitter.

Comic Alan Carr tweeted: "We love you Cheryl come home pet. I'll pop the kettle on hinny xx."

Model Lisa Snowdon said: "Crazy news, do you think Simon planned it all along?"

Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/x_factor/3603831/Cheryl-Cole-I-never-saw-it-coming.html#ixzz1NVGUt6PV
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