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Nicole Scherzinger quits 'The X Factor' U.K.; Cheryl Cole might return to show

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Nicole Scherzinger is reportedly quitting "The X Factor" U.K., according to a Press Association report published on Feb. 13, 2014. Scherzinger (who became a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012) has not made an official comment yet, but there had been signs that she would be leaving the show, including Scherzinger making plans for a new solo album and tour in 2014. In 2013, Scherzinger left Universal Music's Interscope Records and signed a deal with Sony Music, which will release her second solo album on a date to be announced.

"The X Factor" creator executive producer Simon Cowell seemed to confirm that Scherzinger is no longer with "The X Factor" when he tweeted on Feb. 13, 2014: "Nicole will always be a part of the X factor family. Now signed to Sony as an artist. Thank you Nicole for everything ... And I hope to share some very very exciting news with you next week."

It's also likely that Scherzinger did not want to continue with "The X Factor" for personal reasons. According to British tabloids, her on-again/off-again boyfriend Lewis Hamilton (a Formula One driver) reportedly wanted her to quit the show in 2013, but she signed on for another season, and they broke up again shortly after the show's summer auditions began that year. (Scherzinger and Hamilton reportedly rekindled their relationship late 2013.)

Viewers of "The X Factor" U.S.'s first season in 2011 may remember that when Scherzinger was a judge on the show, she was treated badly by Cowell. Scherzinger, judge Paula Abdul and host Steve Jones all ended up being fired from the show after its first season.

On Feb. 7, 2014, Cowell announced that he is returning to "The X Factor" U.K. judging panel in 2014. It was also the same day that Fox announced that "The X Factor" U.S. was cancelled after three seasons on the air.

Cowell is filling the spot vacated by Gary Barlow, who was a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. from 2011 to 2013. Barlow said he was leaving the show to focus on his music career, which includes a new Take That album and tour.

Meanwhile, British tabloids such as the Daily Star keep publishing stories that Cheryl Cole is set to return to "The X Factor" U.K. judging panel in 2014. Cole was a judge on the show from 2008 to 2010. She left "The X Factor" U.K. to become a judge on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011, but she was fired after only a few weeks on the job. Scherzinger replaced Cole on "The X Factor" U.S.

Cole has not publicly commented on the stories that say she's going to go back to being a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2014. Ever since Cole was fired from "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011, some British tabloids keep publishing stories that she is going back to being a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. or that she plans to star in another TV show. So far, all of these stories have turned out to be false. Cole has repeatedly said in interviews and on Twitter that she doesn't want to work for Cowell again, and she has no plans to star in a TV show since she wants to stay focused on her music career. However, Cowell has reportedly said that Cole has been in talks recently to return to "The X Factor" U.K. in 2014.

Before joining "The X Factor" U.S., Scherzinger (the former lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls) was a judge on "The Sing-Off" in 2009 and 2010. She was also a guest judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2010, when she, Cowell and Louis Walsh decided to put five rejected solo contestants in a group together. That group was One Direction, which turned out to be the biggest-selling worldwide act from "The X Factor."

As for who will be on "The X Factor" U.K. judging panel when Cowell returns, it's too early to say, but expect Louis Walsh to remain a judge on the show. Despite announcing that 2013 would be his last year with "The X Factor" U.K., Walsh more recently admitted to the media that his announcement was a pre-emptive strike in case he got fired. Walsh has threatened to quit the show many times before, so he's like the "X Factor" judge who cries wolf.

Sharon Osbourne announced that 2013 was her last year as a judge on "The X Factor" U.K., and she has changed her mind before too. If she really does leave the show, it will probably because she wants to spend more time in Los Angeles, where she co-hosts the CBS weekday chat show "The Talk." In her 2013 memoir, "Unbreakable," Osbourne repeated her statements that 2013 would be her last year as a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. because she did not want the demanding commute back and forth between the U.S. and the U.K. to do both shows.

Osbourne also said that she returned to "The X Factor" U.K. to get closure, since she quit the show in 2007 because of conflicts with then-judge Dannii Minogue, who was a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. from 2007 to 2010. (Minogue became a judge on "The X Factor" Australia in 2013.)

In 2013, Osbourne ended up mentoring Sam Bailey, who was the winner of "The X Factor" U.K. that year. It's very likely that Osbourne will stick to her word about not going back to "The X Factor" U.K. judging panel since she probably wants to go out on top as a winning judge/mentor.

In September 2013, Cowell was seen having a business meeting with British singer Rita Ora, so it seems the search for a new "X Factor" U.K. judge has already begun. Ora said that in early 2013, she turned down an offer to be a judge on the show (to replace Tulisa Contostavlos, who was fired), so it's possible that Ora (who was a guest judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012) could be a contender in 2014. Any serious negotiations for a new "X Factor" U.K. judge in 2014 won't happen until March or April.

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