Simon Cowell has confirmed exclusively to Nikki Finke that Paula Abdul and Cheryl Cole are his choices to fill the remaining two spots on the US version of X Factor launching in the Fall. Both are currently negotiating their contracts. They’ve been trying to make Cheryl Cole happen for a long time now. Click here for my post on that a few weeks ago. Her? Really?

Nikki Finke doesn’t think so. She straight up calls it to Simon Cowell’s face – that America has no idea who Cole is, that America may very well not give a sh-t who Cole is, that between Paula and Cheryl, there’s really not much draw. And that Simon, between all four of them, including LA Reid, is the biggest name of them all… which certainly satisfies his ego, sure, but it may not be enough to attract consistent viewers.

Simon insists that Fox is behind him and has never questioned his nomination of Cheryl. Finke however points to Cheryl’s past – she has remade her image, sure, but Cole was once a roughneck, and beat down a girl in a bathroom once at a club. The original charge was actually “racially aggravated assault” as it was alleged by the other girl in the fight that Cheryl had used a slur during the brawl. She was eventually found guilty of assault without the racial issue attached to it but that reputation stayed with her for a while, and if she’s going to be introduced to a US audience, they better be ready for the US to drag that sh-t up all over again. You know how it is.

But maybe it all just comes down to money. No one wants to talk about money. Why Cheryl Cole? Why, for that matter, Paula Abdul? The British tabloids keep yapping about how Cole will be paid all these millions upon millions of dollars when, really, if I were the tv executive hammering out this deal, and I’m already paying so much to Cowell and royalties and looking at the budget for this show with this level of production, the reason why Cole and Abdul look good to me is because they’re going to come cheap(er). At least at the beginning. The first year, if not two, of Cole’s contract has to be totally unremarkable financially – prove it to us, honey. Because right now, no one knows you from ass. Once you’ve been established, and if you help make X Factor a hit, then we’ll give you a bump. For now, you have nothing to leverage.


And as for Paula – she’s been out of it and off of it for two years, and no one really missed her. You think she’s coming to the table with more power than a television network with an established brand and Simon Cowell’s track record?


Both of them, Cole and Abdul, need the show more than the show needs them. So if I’m the show, I’m only interested because right off the top, they might save me some money…even though that could be a money losing proposition down the line because, well, frankly, you need the viewers first. And will the viewers come from Cheryl Cole?

Well, she might need a boyfriend then.

Someone who can strategically introduce her to a US audience via Us Weekly/People Magazine/any magazine/take your pick.

And no, that dancer person isn’t enough.

I received an email when I originally posted about Cheryl Cole’s American dreams from a lovely reader who posited that Cheryl Cole would be successful because she’s dating some guy from Dancing With The Sh-ts and everybody watches Dancing Sh-ts so that means everybody knows Cheryl.

Ummm… with all due respect…


I can’t even remember that Dancing Sh-t guy’s name off the top of my head without the assistance of Google. We can agree to disagree on a lot, but trust me when I tell you, that is not enough for Cheryl Cole, and this isn’t a debate. Fact: she’ll need a LOT more to break through here than a C List hookup on a show where has-beens throw sequins at the camera and try not to sprain their groins. Come on now. You have to give me more than that.

Click here to read Simon Cowell’s full interview with Nikki Finke and her assessment of him and of X Factor after that.

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