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OTRC: Cheryl Cole axed as 'The X Factor' judge, reports say

Cheryl Cole appears in a promotional photo for the FOX series 'The X Factor.' (Ian Derry / FOX)

"The X Factor" might be experiencing a huge shake up at the judges' table.

Cheryl Cole has reportedly been axed as a judge on the show and, according to a report by People magazine, is being replaced by former Pussycat Doll singer Nicole Scherzinger.

Spokespeople for Fox had no immediate comment on the matter and Cowell's spokesperson declined to comment. Cole has not talked about the reports publicly.

Cole was officially announced as the third judge on the reality singing competition on May 5.

"I'm thrilled for Cheryl," Cowell said in a statement provided by FOX. "She is massively excited about this show, and has been fantastic to work with. She is also a complete brat! Most importantly, this girl can spot talent."

Cole, a 27-year-old British pop singer who rose to fame as a member of the group Girls Aloud, sat alongside Cowell on the judging panel of the UK version of "The X Factor" for three years. It has been reported for weeks that she was in talks to join the U.S. adaptation of the program, which Cowell is spearheading.

"I'm so excited to be taking part in the American version of 'The X Factor," Cole said. "I absolutely love it here in the UK and with the talent they have out in America, I'm sure we're going to find someone very special. I can't wait to get started."

"I just can't decide whether I am more excited to find and nurture the talent or for the unbelievable amount of amusement and entertainment I will have watching Simon doing everything and anything he can to beat me," she added. "He's tried to beat me for three years in the U.K., and hasn't even come close. His ego must be so bruised. America is gonna love this."

Cole had already served as a judge during several U.S. auditions on the show, which is set to debut on Fox in the fall. Several reasons have been cited for Cole's departure including a lack of chemistry with fellow judges Paula Abdul and Antonio "L.A." Reid, and a fear that audiences will not be able to understand her northeastern English accent.

Abdul Tweeted on May 8 that despite concerns by some viewers, she is able to understand Cole despite her accent, adding: "She's a delight, lovely & sweet. what accent?"

"Gotta tell you about Cheryl- 'The Fierce' is STRONG w/ this one! :)" Abdul said. "She's lovely! xoP"

On May 7, it was reported that Scherzinger and Steve Jones will be the hosts of the U.S. version of "The X Factor."

Scherzinger, 32, appeared on the UK version of "X-Factor" while Jones, 34, has hosted several shows in the UK, including "T4 Music" and "As Seen on TV."

"The X Factor" has been the United Kingdom's top-rated program for the last seven years, peaking with an audience of 21 million for its 2010 finale, FOX said.

Auditions for the U.S. version of "The X Factor" began weeks ago. The show is seeking undiscovered talent 12 years old or over, in solo artists or groups who will perform in front of the panel in hopes of winning a $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music.

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