Cheryl Cole out of UK "X Factor" after U.S. hitch

Tue May 31, 2011 5:59pm EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - British singer Cheryl Cole will not be appearing on the British version of "The X Factor", after reportedly being dropped from the upcoming U.S. launch of the popular TV talent show.

Reports surfaced last week that Cole, who rose to fame as a member of British girl band Girls Aloud, had been ditched from the new Fox television venture despite having had public backing from the show's creator and star judge Simon Cowell.

The reversal, which some news sites attributed to Cole's northern English accent which producers feared U.S. viewers may struggle to understand, dominated British and U.S. celebrity headlines, although it has yet to be officially confirmed.

British newspapers said that Cole, who they reported was furious at the U.S. snub, had been offered an "olive branch" of returning to the British edition of the show, which commands large audiences for broadcaster ITV.

But when the channel announced its judging lineup for the 2011 series on Monday, Cole's name did not feature.

Instead it will comprise music producer Louis Walsh, the only survivor from the 2010 panel, Take That lead singer Gary Barlow, hip-hop star Tulisa Contostavlos and U.S. singer and Destiny's Child founding member Kelly Rowland.

The ITV announcement made no mention of Cole's possible involvement, and the news feed on her official website has not been updated since May 6, when she announced she would join Cowell and Antonio "L.A." Reid in judging the U.S. series.

Producers of the upcoming U.S. version of "The X Factor" again declined to comment on Tuesday on Cole's reported ouster.

In the United States, former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger is expected to replace Cole on the panel. Former "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul completes the judges' line-up.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Jill Serjeant)