'The X Factor': Cast Weighs In on How Show Handled Cheryl Cole's Exit

6:00 AM PST 09/21/2011 by Shirley Halperin
Andrew MacPherson
From left: Steve Jones, Nicole Scherzinger, L.A. Reid, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul

In outtakes from THR's August cover story, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, L.A. Reid and host Steve Jones discuss the original judge’s very public dismissal.

Fox's The X Factor has five big personalities to judge and guide its contestants: Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, L.A. Reid and host Steve Jones

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But, that wasn't always the case. British singer and personality Cheryl Cole was once slated for Scherzinger's seat. But then she was publicly let go

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In several exclusive no-holds barred interviews with The Hollywood Reporter, the current reality personalities discussed the drama, each giving their take when posed with the question: do you think Cheryl Cole's exit could have been handled differently?

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SIMON COWELL

"You make right and wrong decisions when you produce TV shows, but I stand by the decisions I've made. And I stand by the fact that I'm entitled to make decisions as a producer, and if I'm wrong, I'll hold my hands up. I'll always continue to work this way. If I don't think something is quite right, without throwing someone under the bus, I'll do what I think is right at the time, rather than months later go, 'I wish I'd said something.' ... Some people said it was a publicity stunt, to which I say, 'That's a bloody expensive publicity stunt!'"

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PAULA ABDUL

"There probably could have been better ways of dealing with it. She is the most über-popular, beloved girl. When you’re that much in the public eye, you become strong and face adversity. But still, she’s human. It's never comfortable."

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L.A. REID

"I don't know what the thinking might have been behind any of those [decisions]. The synergy was potentially there with Cheryl, who I thought was beautiful and would be a great judge, and Nicole is beautiful and talented. I think they both would make great judges. ... But there were no conversations, right. And on this show, I'm not the producer, I don't work for Fox or Fremantle, I'm just a judge. I stay in my place."

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NICOLE SCHERZINGER

"I have no idea how it could have been handled. Simon said, 'You know Nicole? It’s not about us, it’s about the contestants, the show and what’s best for that.' And that’s where my head is. It’s about moving forward. All I know is they offered me the job and I’m going to show up and do the best I can. That’s what its about. The proof is in the pudding, I’m just going be good at my job."

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STEVE JONES

"It's not for me to say. I was disappointed things turned out the way they had, mostly disappointed because I didn't get a chance to work with Cheryl. But she's a good girl. She's been through a lot. I'm sure she'll bounce back and when I spoke to her after, she seemed fine. But I do miss hanging out with her."

Twitter: @shirleyhalperin

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