'X Factor' Drama: Nicole Scherzinger Replaces Cheryl Cole on Judging Panel

There's been a big last-minute change-up on the X Factor judging panel: Cheryl Cole is out and Nicole Scherzinger's in! Execs made the surprising decision and now there's been a flurry of rumors as to why the former Pussycat Dolls singer was moved from co-host to judge. 

The first rumors about the switch indicated that British pop star was axed because her accent was too thick for American audiences to understand, but apparently that's not really the case. Now we hear it was a chemistry thing.

"Throughout the whole decision making process, Simon was really torn between Cheryl and Nicole. He absolutely loved Nicole, really felt like she was the right one, but also knew his chemistry with Cheryl had been great before in the U.K. He finally decided on the more comfortable option and chose Cheryl," a source said (via Us magazine).
But, Simon Cowell then realized he'd made a mistake. "With the pressure building for this show to be a success, Cheryl was a much bigger risk and instinctively, as time went on, Nicole felt more and more like the right choice," said the insider. "Nicole was so disappointed before when she wasn't picked, but now, thankfully, she is in the role she was always meant for. And Simon knows that."
So, for now, that leaves Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, and Nicole Scherzinger in the judges panel, while Steve Jones will handle hosting duties solo. Auditions kicked off in late March and the show will debut in September.