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Why Cheryl Cole Was Dropped From X Factor

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Apparently Cheryl Cole just doesn't have the 'X' factor.

Thought the panel of judges and cohosts for Fox's X Factor was set once Paula Abdul joined the fray? Think again!

In a shocking 11th hour decision that came down Monday, X Factor execs pulled Brit singer Cheryl Cole from the panel and replaced her with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger. Problem is, Scherzinger was already tapped to cohost with Steve Jones.

Related: NEWS: 5 things you don't know about Steve Jones

"Everyone is freaking out and it's all a bit of a mess," a source close to Girls Aloud singer Cole, 27, told Us Weekly Wednesday after news of the switch surfaced.

Though Internet reports claim Cole's thick British accent was a possible reason for the switch, a source tells Us show creator Cowell was more concerned with his panel's chemistry.

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"Throughout the whole decision making process, Simon was really torn between Cheryl and Nicole. He absolutely loved Nicole, really felt like she was the right one, but also knew his chemistry with Cheryl had been great before in the U.K. He finally decided on the more comfortable option and chose Cheryl," a source close to Scherzinger tells Us of Cowell and Cole, who cojudged The X Factor's U.K. installment.

Later, says the Scherzinger source, the mogul felt Cole's appointment was "a mistake."

Related: NEWS: 5 things you don't know about Cheryl Cole

"With the pressure building for this show to be a success, Cheryl was a much bigger risk and instinctively, as time went on, Nicole felt more and more like the right choice," adds the insider. "Nicole was so disappointed before when she wasn't picked, but now, thankfully, she is in the role she was always meant for. And Simon knows that."

Related: VIDEO: Do these singers have star potential?

Indeed, a production insider tells Us Cowell is feeling the heat — and rightfully so. "It's his name on the line all the way through this — it literally can't fail," says the set source. "The chemistry has to be right; it's the vital element that holds this whole thing together. The judges' connection with the audience could make or break the entire project."

Auditions for the American version of The X Factor began in L.A. March 27 and continue Thursday in Dallas; the show will begin airing in September.

By Allison Corneau for For more Channel Surfing, click here.

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