'X Factor' Swap: Nicole Scherzinger, Kelly Rowland Switch in the Works?

Nicole Scherzinger Kelly Rowland split L
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Leave it to the British tabs to cook up another X Factor fantasy, this time involving U.S. judge Nicole Scherzinger and U.K. judge Kelly Rowland.

According to Now Magazine, the show, and creator Simon Cowell specifically, is contemplating a possible swap that would send Scherzinger to London and bring Rowland to Los Angeles. The weekly quotes a source who says, “Simon thinks [Rowland] will be amazing on the US show” and notes that Scherzinger has had a “mixed reaction in the U.S.”

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While it’s true that some lingering resentment remains over the audition phase dismissal of UK X Factor import Cheryl Cole in favor of Scherzinger, who was initially hired as a co-host, as the competition has progressed, the sassy Pussycat Dolls singer, along with her popular “over 30s” contestants, which include Stacy Francis, LeRoy Bell and last man standing Josh Krajcik, has built a supportive audience all her own. 

On the other hand, Scherzinger has had a successful single (“Don’t Hold Your Breath”) and album (Killer Love) chart in the UK where she is a bonafide solo star, while the album’s U.S. release has been marred by repeated delays. Rowland has seen moderate solo success on both sides of the pond, but after she received harsh criticism for calling out sick on UK X Factor (she was legitimately and severely ill, her doctor later revealed), perhaps she would get a warmer welcome on American shores. In other words, a swap might not be such a crazy idea.

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An insider denies that any conversations of the sort have taken place and insists that all players are happy and focused on the season at hand. This week, that means Michael Jackson songs, the theme for Wednesday night.

An X Factor spokesman tells the tab that, “no decisions of cast changes will be made until the show ends next month.”