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The announcement, which came as Cowell returned to British TV screens for the semifinals of Britain’s Got Talent, made no reference to Cole, despite her apparent availability after being axed from the U.S. version of the show.
“These four will be totally up for it, and each of them bring a different attitude,” Cowell said in a statement Monday night, announcing that Take That singer-songwriter Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavious of British urban hip-hop band N-Dubz, Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland and veteran boy-band impresario Louis Walsh will head the show.
“They have a ton of hits between them and they are all committed to finding a star,” Cowell added.
Cole is rumored to have refused to take calls from Cowell and ITV bosses after being dropped from the U.S. show that will bow on Fox in the fall. Her accent, weight and low profile in the U.S. are have all been cited as reasons for the departure, but neither the star nor her reps have made any comment.
‘Earlier, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden warned that Cole would “regret” not accepting an olive branch from ITV and Cowell and returning to X-Factor U.K.
“There is dark talk of Cheryl snubbing a return to British X-Factor. Please do not do this. You will regret it for a long time,” she told BBC radio.
Meanwhile, in his first public appearance before the news about his protegee broke last week, Cowell took some ribbing from fellow Britain’s Got Talent presenters Ant and Dec on the ITV1 show. To audible gasps from the audience, a tired and puffy-looking Cowell could only smile thinly after the Geordie pair asked him: “Before we start, Simon, can you understand our accent?”
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