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Simon Cowell is opening up about the sudden exit of The X Factor judge Cheryl Cole, and the hiring of Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger as the British singer's replacement.
"All that happened was I said to her, ‘cause we have a lot of shows around the world, that I wanted her to front the UK show and that was it and she said, ‘No,’” Cowell told Access Hollywood on Thursday.
Sources say Cole was ousted for multiple reasons, including her lack of chemistry with co-judge Paula Abdul, and the show's execs fear that viewers would have hard time understanding Cole's heavy British accent.
While Cowell and Cole were close while both were judges on the British version of the show, he says now that letting Cole go has caused a rift in their relationship.
"You know, whenever you do anything in public it’s horrible, but that’s what happens when you make these shows," he said. "I hope that we’re gonna be friends going forward. She’ll be mad at me for awhile, but I didn’t do anything wrong."
Cole was replaced by Scherzinger, who had filled the seat once before on the U.K. version when Cheryl was sick with malaria. Cowell insists Scherzinger was the obvious choice to fill the seat on the new show -- and he knew better than to not hire her.
“What else are we gonna do? She would’ve killed me if I’d a chosen anyone else,” Simon explained of Nicole's hiring. "I literally would have been killed."