I chose not to blog about this when it first came to light – because my goodness, it changed near enough every second! But as Nicole Scherzinger officially replaces Cheryl on the US X Factor, Simon explains what happened and the reasons behind it. He tells The Sun newspaper:
I’m sorry. I hope we’re still close friends. She’s still a star. The hardest thing to accept is that everyone has painted me as a monster because I embarrassed her. But the truth was I was protecting her. I just want people to be in the best place at the right time….. Cheryl’s Geordie accent had nothing to do with the bosses’ decision and that she was not fired….We noticed she was quieter than normal. The feeling was that she was slightly out of her comfort zone in America. The intention was to do it quietly and say to her she had an option to rejoin the UK show. At the end of the day we were saying, ‘Move to another show for even more money’. There was an offer of around £2.5million on the table including bonuses. How is that sacking someone?”
After receiving a text from Cheryl explaining how let down she felt but understood it was a professional decision. He added:
I replied saying, ‘this was never personal or saying you were terrible’. It wasn’t that she was terrible – she was good. I just thought she’d be happier in the UK.”
The X Factor guru admitted that he took full responsibility for the decision but that he stood by it.