We were gob-smacked to hear that Cheryl Cole had been dumped from this year’s inaugural US X Factor this morning. Our Cheryl?! What’s wrong with you America?! To quote future poet laureate Russell Brand.. “Those things coming out of her mouth?! That’s English that is!” At first we were told that she had ‘walked away’, but as the day progressed and it became clear that what had actually happened was that she had been “told to clear her desk”, wild rumours started cut a swathe across the internet like a drunken popstar in a nightclub toilet.
If she was sacked then why? And when you consider that an image of her wearing odd socks usually triggers a media frenzy of biblical proportions, why had we heard nothing of this before? At OTB we are demanding answers (while pitying the poor ITV intern who gets lumbered with the job of calling to Kelly Rowland..)
The Daily Mail opened proceedings with the well-hashed theory that poor Cheryl’s Northern tones would leave Americans even more confused than normal. “Last night sources said Cole was dropped from the judging panel because producers were concerned her Geordie accent would be too difficult for an American audience to understand,” they said proudly. Ahh yes, that old chestnut. But while Cole’s lilt probably didn’t help matters, such an explanation does not explain the last minute nature of FOX’s decision to axe the Geordie lass. After all she didn’t catch wayayitis over the weekend..
Well-known fountain of gossip TMZ went on to report that Cheryl had been sacked due to a lack of spark between her and Paula Abdul. “Fox are said to be not thrilled with the chemistry,” explained the website wisely. “She isn’t on the show anymore. Everyone is gob-smacked,” (Not again Cheryl?!) “This came out of nowhere. She had already been tested countless times. Simon had nothing to do with it. This is the network’s doing.” So it’s Murdoch’s fault then? We knew it must have been…
One source with an excellent knack for colourfully stating the obvious told eager reporters that Cole was “royally pissed off” with the development and that she was currently “hiding out in her North London home”. Our all-knowing insider with a penchant for very public guesswork then went on to add that the former Girls Aloud star was considering severing all ties with the show. We’ve all said that before though…
But as our Cheryl barricades her front door and stocks up on L’Oreal, those too-clever-for-their-own-good bods at The Guardian have come up with an even more interesting idea which could go straight to the heart of the problem. Dan Sabbagh claims that what we are seeing is the fall-out from a titanic struggle between FOX and Simon Cowell. Or ‘The Empire’ and ‘Darth Vader’ to Star Wars fans (not that we imagine the worlds of X Factor and George Lucas have that much cross-over – if any. “The X Factor is strong with this one”, “Sing or sing not – there is no sore throat”, “No Gamu. I AM YOUR FATHER!!” – sorry). Anyway our left-leaning media expert explains that while FOX were always at the top of the queue to claim the rights to Cowell’s runaway money-making machine, they weren’t too keen on Cheryl.
“They were determined that Cheryl would not appear,” hypothesises the Guardian journalist. “There was the accent, of course, but above all the fact that she was a total unknown to the US public. Putting Cheryl’s name in the frame, I was told, would be a major mistake. The message was clear – Fox didn’t want her (and several other things besides). She was only put on the panel as a favour to the X Factor impresario – but even Cowell can’t boss a US television network around..”