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X Factor Judges: Cheryl Cole Replaced by Scherzinger

X Factor judges
From left, “The X Factor” judges Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and L.A. Reid pose with the show’s host Steve Jones at a world premiere screening event for the new television series, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, in Los Angeles. The competition series gives viewers the opportunity to choose the next breakout music star or group. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

X Factor judges
From left, "The X Factor" judges Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and L.A. Reid.(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

After months of commercials and sound bites from Simon Cowell, “X Factor” finally premiered on Fox Wednesday night.

The show, of course is supposed to be about music and talented singers—like Stacy Francis from Brooklyn—but after the first episode the story was all about the judges.

Going into the premiere, much of the focus was on Cowell and Paula Abdul’s return to the judges table, but that was trumped by the replacement of one judge half way through the premiere.

Viewers were somewhat confused when Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Doll’s replaced British recording-artist Cheryl Cole after the Los Angeles auditions.

Rumors swirling around the entertainment business say Cole’s thick accent may have been her downfall. But Simon Cowell told Piers Morgan that Cole was fired because she looked “bewildered” on the panel.

X Factor judges
(AP Photo/Fox, Ray Mickshaw)

There was a clear difference between Cole and Scherzinger—which was apparently early on in the second hour after the Pussycat Doll stood up with Paula Abdul and danced in front of the stage during one performance. Cole seemed comfortable just sitting in her seat and critiquing the auditions.

And it looks like the critics have Cole’s back on this one.

USA Today writer Brian Mansfield wrote: “When she goes into her little-girl act, judge/mentor Nicole Scherzinger makes Paula Abdul look smart.”

That hurts.

The New York Times said Cole’s replacement was a “downgrade.”

There were some other notable moments from the judges, like the “rivalry” between Cowell and music producer L.A. Reid.

So for now Fox’s new talent show features: Cowell, Reid, Abdul and Scherzinger. Cole fans might be disappointed with Cowell’s decision to drop her, but she did earn some fans Wednesday night.

Simon and Reid duel it out:

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