Simon Cowell Breaks Silence Over Cheryl XF Axe
SiCo has apologised to Chezza, stating her hopes they are still good pals...
Nicole Scherzinger WILL be replacing Chezza as a judge on the US series, SiCo leapt into action to explain his decision to give theGirls Aloud beauty the boot, claiming he thought she would be happier back on the UK show.
In a statement obtained by The Mirror, the music mogul says that he is "not a monster" and admits that he did lose his nerve when it came to telling Cole that he wanted her back on the British series, leaving XF executive producer, Richard Holloway, to tell the 27-year old the bad news.
SiCo stated: "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.”
After axing Cheryl from US XF, the Promise This singer then turned down Cowell's proposal to return to her old job alongside UK judge, Louis Walsh, but after she refused, Simon explained that he DID offer her the The X factor USA job again.
The 51-year old said: "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 Will.I.Am 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."
He continued: “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 then confirmed that Chezza had been offered €2.8million to be a judge on the UK version of the talent show, but she soon snubbed the generous sum after news of her axe from the American XF leaked.
ITV then announced new panelists Kelly Rowland, Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos after Cheryl turned down Cowell's latest deal, with Simon explaining: "The intention was to do it quietly and simply say to her that you have an option to rejoin the UK show."
“We were saying move to another show for even more money. There was offer of around €2.8million on the table including bonuses. So how is that sacking someone? If that’s being horrible to someone then I would be quite happy with someone doing that to me."
“She was certainly interested as we exchanged a few texts and she asked if she could have my dressing room at the studio and I said ‘of course’. Her management even asked for a legal waiver to her contract with the US show allowing her to open discussions with ITV."
Cowell went on: “So we genuinely thought it was going to happen. But the big condition was that it was to be kept under wraps and she would make a big entrance last week at the Birmingham auditions and everyone would have loved it."
"But when the story got out, it changed everything. There was no more communication and we had set a deadline of Sunday, giving her six days to make a decision. That passed and we still had not heard anything. So we announced our UK judges."
Simon also confessed that himself and TV bosses felt Cole was "uncomfortable" being a judge on the Stateside show, so felt giving her the option to return to the UK XF was best for Chezza, proving that the decision had nothing to do with her Geordie accent.
He explained: "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. 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.”
Despite their falling out, SiCo hopes that himself and Chezza will still be good friends: "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 (Cole) 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."
He added: "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.”