Are Nicole Scherzinger & Kelly Rowland Trading Places on 'The X Factor'?

Simon Cowell may be shaking up the U.S. and U.K. casts for The X Factor and swapping his pop-singing judges on either side of the pond

It seems Simon Cowell is at it again. According to some media rumors, he's thinking of making some changes on his judging panel for The X Factor (Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET, on Fox) once again. Back in May, when the show was only weeks into filming, Cowell swapped out British singer Cheryl Cole, 28, for Nicole Scherzinger, 33. This week, according to the U.K. tabloid, Now, he's considering trading Scherzinger for one of the British X Factor judges, R&B singer Kelly Rowland, 30. The two would simply switch places, with Scherzinger going to the British version, and Rowland joining the stateside one.

Why the switch-up? Cowell isn't quoted in the story, but a source close to production says that he thinks Rowland would "be amazing on the U.S. show." Scherzinger, on the other hand, has "had a mixed reaction in the U.S." One recent critic accused her of dragging the show down single-handedly. But she was well loved when she acted as a guest judge on the British X Factor in 2010. So maybe it makes more sense to give her a full time gig on that show.

On the face of it, both women are really very similar. They're both attractive pop singers who came out of manufactured groups. Scherzinger launched her career as part of the girl group, Eden's Crush and the The Pussycat Dolls, while Rowland got her start in Destiny's Child. So both singers are supremely qualified to advise The X Factor pop-stars-in-training.

But let's be honest: Their main job is to create a riveting -- or at the very least, watchable -- TV show. That means entertaining viewers with snarky comments (a la Cowell) or flaky behavior (we love you, Paula Abdul!) or good, old-fashioned fights with fellow judges. Scherzinger is neither snarky nor flaky, and her altercations with Cowell have seemed staged.

Rowland, on the other hand, seems to have chosen that third option, and boy, has she gone whole hog with it. "It would be a boring fricking love fest if we all got on, and that's just not going to happen," she recently told Now. "If someone says something about my act that I disagree with, I'm not going to keep quiet." Ah, that's what Americans like to hear!

As for Rowland, she's hinting that she may not be interested in either job really. She told the Daily Mirror, "X Factor next year? We'll see. I definitely would love to go on tour though, so that will be my focus next year."

In the meantime, Cowell's probably just happy that people are talking about all of this. Clearly, the media rumors bring buzz to both of his shows -- smart move, as always!

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