Simon Cowell Speaks Out on the Cheryl Cole Debacle

Unless the Mirror is making up these quotes (and hey, they could be, ’cause that’s what British tabs do) Simon Cowell is finally speaking out on the Cheryl Cole debacle.  Although Simon thought Cheryl would be happy to move back to the UK show, he reportedly chickened out of telling her in person. He sent X Factor’s executive producer Richard Holloway to deliver the bad news instead.

eta: Another report from The Sun HERE.

“The hardest thing to accept is that everyone has painted me as a monster because I embarrassed her, but the truth was I was protecting her. I just want people to be in the best place at the right time.”

“When she turned down the UK show, we got back in touch and said, well she is still under contract with the US show so we invited her back. Her position was still there.

“We had some heated conversations with her US manager and he inferred this wasn’t a genuine offer. They thought that if she didn’t turn up on Wednesday then we wouldn’t pay her.

“We made it clear that she was always going to be paid in full. We got to the point on Saturday when we genuinely thought she was going to accept the offer but again neither she nor they returned any calls. So we’ve announced Nicole.”

Cowell explained he and TV bosses had previously decided Cheryl was “uncomfortable” on the US show and felt offering her the chance to return to the UK X Factor would be the best option.

He confirmed the deal would have been worth €2.8million if she agreed to it, but talks broke down when news of her problems in America began to leak out.

He said: “Knowing Cheryl like I know her, we noticed she was quieter than normal, looked a bit uncomfortable but I put some of this down to nerves. The overall feeling was that she was slightly out her comfort zone in America, compared to what she was in the UK.

“If she had accepted my original offer, she would have made a sensational return and would have understood she was more comfortable in the UK than the US.”

He went on: “I apologise that all this has become public and I understand the stress she is under, and I hate that. But we have all been under a lot of stress.

“When things like this happen I look at the contestant, they must think this is crazy. All the attention is on us. I am sorry this has caused so much anguish and embarrassment, but I stand by what I believe was the right intention. And I would say that to her face right now.”

He said: “I had a text from her last Wednesday. She said she felt let down but at the time she understood that it was a professional decision. I replied saying this was never personal or saying you were terrible. It wasn’t that she was terrible – she was good – I just thought she’d be happier in the UK.

“After the year she’d had with Ashley and the whole malaria thing, you either shut it down and go for it or you have to be with your friends and family to deal with it.

“We are close friends. I still hope we are but sometimes when you’re that close, when you’re making these decisions with someone’s life you have to be certain. I stand by what I said to her. I hope we’re still close friends. I’m sure if she was here now there would be a frank discussion, but will I work with her again? Definitely. She’s a star.”

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  • phil25

    I like Cheryl. I would like her to be a judge instead of Nicole, but I’m sure the Fox execs thought 1) that there were too many judges/hosts, and 2) too many Brits, so Cheryl was disposable.

  • OldHag

    Simon is still a butt. Too bad she is gone from not just the US version but from both now; Cheryl was my favorite judge on UK X-Factor. And I flove her accent. The above poster may have something about the too many Brits thing though.

  • lostinidol is her manager? That’s rather interesting.

    I really don’t get this. They booted Cheryl because she seemed a little nervous and uncomfortable after a couple of audition shows? And that cost them $2.8 million. We had to put up with two seasons of Kara being uncomfortable and nervous. And how many seasons of Paula being just plain crazy. I really would love to know what this really was about.

  • JGLucky

    Meh, but to replace her with Nicole? Mentoring is a huge part of this show and you need a warm personality to pull it off. Nicole is as cold as ice to me. I genuinely hope US X-Factor does well and gets a second season and he replaces Nicole with someone more fitting.

    Cheryl would have been amazing. It’s sad they pulled this on her. I’d be pissed and not return calls to Simon either. He and Fox made her uproot her UK life to come here and that’s how they treat her.

  • DavidD11

    I think Simon and Fox really F’ed up here. Compared to J Lo and Christina, Nicole is so D-List. I actually like some of her songs but her solo career has been a massive fail. Ironically, the only place her solo songs have had in success is the UK. After DWTS and The Sing Off I think people are sick of Nicole. She is overexposed and not very likable. Cheryl on the other hand would have really freshened up the panel and had potential to really make a big splash over here. She may have been a bit risky, but she is charming, charismatic and genuine, plus she has proven to be an effective judge on the live shows, something that can’t be said for Nicole or the new Idol judges. I still don’t think we have heard the end of this. I was at the LA auditions and Cheryl did fine and seemed to win the audience over. If execs were so quick to send her back to the UK I find it hard to believe they will be too thrilled with what Nicole will bring to the table. I don’t think we have heard the end of this one…

  • springboard

    This is damage limitation for the UK audience.

  • tomr

    He should change his name to Simon COWARD! Good luck to Cheryl…she is a doll and America would have loved her. As much as I like Paula, I won’t be watching due to Simon’s manipulation of friends. He makes Nigel look tame.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    He said: “I had a text from her last Wednesday. She said she felt let down but at the time she understood that it was a professional decision. I replied saying this was never personal or saying you were terrible. It wasn’t that she was terrible – she was good – I just thought she’d be happier in the UK.

    It was a “professional decision”, but centered around Simon thinking that Cheryl would “be happier in the UK”? OK. LOL! I’m just glad that Cheryl was paid in full.

    ETA: Totally agree, steelbluelily. It is “paternalistic hoohah”.

  • steelbluelily

    What a load of paternalistic hoohah! He decided for her where she would be “happier”? How about asking a grown ass woman what she would like to do instead of making decisions for her like daddy does for a 5 year old? How about treating business decisions like business decisions? So he made a bad business decision in the way he handled an employee and now he’s got some bad PR because of it. The conclusion – claim he was just watching out for “poor little Cheryl”. Ridiculous!

  • springboard

    What Simon thinks of friendship (at the 0:35 mark)

  • Reflections On Life

    I’m wondering if the real reason is that Simon felt XFactor UK needed Cheryl more than XF US did once Dani Minogue left the panel, leaving only Louis Walsh on this 4-person judges panel.

  • Mateja

    Oh, what a mess.

    I’m a fan of Cheryl, she is a great TV personality and her great chemistry with Simon on X Factor UK was undeniable. He adored her from the moment they met, he was her mentor on the panel and she was his pet. Young, relevant popstar that brought a lot of glamor to the show. She became the biggest female celebrity in the UK.
    I have to say that Cheryl used to be more bubbly in her first two seasons of X Factor UK. Then she divorced from Ashely Cole and almost died from malaria. Suddenly she became way more reserved.

    It’s understandable that Simon wanted her to join him on X Factor USA.

    But, there were many things that Simon and Fox producers didn’t take into consideration.
    Simon always sits at the end of the table. So, there is always only one chair open next to him. If Simon really wanted Cheryl on the panel, that spot should be given to her. But then the geniuses brought Paula Abdul on the panel. Paula also played the role of Simon’s pet on American Idol, and their interaction on the panel was full of antics. Simon-Cheryl interaction was more subtle, but IMO, also more pleasant.

    So, suddenly they had two female judges, both used to and expecting Simon’s attention. It’s obvious that the producers deemed Saula more important for the show than Chimon. I think Cheryl felt like 3rd wheel watching Simon and Paula and their usual loud antics. Those two and LA Reid are all louder, more dominant personalities than her. And when Cheryl finally got a chance to sit next to Simon, Paula was cut off from Simon and the producers noticed that. And so Simon and the producers realized that one – Cheryl had to go. Cheryl probably also understood the situation.

    Simon and ITV really wanted her to go back to the British show and they planned Cheryl’s surprise entrance to Birmingham auditions last Wednesday. That would be some great TV for X Factor UK to have Cheryl back and the real reason for her return wouldn’t even matter. That’s why FOX didn’t announce anything. Then someone leaked that Cheryl was fired and replaced by Nicole Scherzinger and then the idea of going back to the British show wasn’t appealing to Cheryl anymore and the only way for her to keep some of her pride was to refuse to return.

    Simon obviously isn’t happy. He realized that he couldn’t keep her on X Factor USA, but he hoped she would at least return to the British show. Now he lost his pet.

  • hcpoirot

    Yep, they should pick out a better replacement than Nicole. Looks like lots of Fox execs are really out of touch. They should try to get more famous one if they cannot get a smart one.

    HOw they prefer Nicole than Cheryl is puzzled me. They should pick better famous judges than Nicole. Not after The Voice and Idol got famous judges.

    Not to mention NIcole did not had huge personality. But time will tell.

  • Dewayne Boyd


    So people are actually buying the PR stunt? Of course, Cheryl was in on it all along. There’s no way she would turn down going back to X Factor UK if that had been the actual plan and she doesn’t have something else planned. She is transitioning to something else, and they are using this as a ploy and PR move for her to move on while milking publicity for X Factor at the same time.

    LOL at the “needing to get a visa.” Ha ha. She already had a visa and would not have lost it already. Otherwise, she would have never done the first two shows. Fox would have never BROKEn THE LAW ON NATIONAL TELEVISION by using her those first two shows unless she already had a visa. Cheryl was in on the whole thing. There’s no reason to feel sorry for anybody.

  • Vintage007

    I think filling the X Factor judging panel has not been as easy as Mr. Cowell would like us to believe both in US and UK. I assume he was under a lot of stress when it became clear it wasn’t going to be easy all while keeping it hidden from us. Then more problems…empty seats and Dani quits UK – things begin to unravel fast.

    Frankly, I don’t believe for one second that anyone of any value was ever close to becoming a judge. Why do I think this? Just look at the panel in place now. Paula, Nicole??? Where is all the talent you bragged of? I sure don’t see it on the panel anymore. Nicole just doesn’t come off on camera as being likable, let alone someone who should mentor. Now the panel completely lacks youth, energy, freshness and class. Justin Bieber would have done a better job.