Producers at FOX say Cheryl Cole’s strong, regional English accent, and lack of profile stateside had no relationship to the British singer departing “The X Factor” as a judge and mentor after just two audition rounds.
“The crowd was great with her,” President of Alternative Entertainment for FOX, Mike Darnell, told Access Hollywood after “The X Factor” panel at the Television Critics Association Session in Beverly Hills on Friday. “I think that Simon and the producers just felt that it was, at the moment that she was doing it, they felt like maybe, she would be more comfortable doing [the show in] England.”
Cecile Frot-Coutaz, an Executive Producer of “The X Factor,” said Cole was well received by the American crowds and no contestants questioned whether she was experienced enough in the stateside entertainment world to judge.
“I think people knew her because she was on the British show. There was nobody who said, ‘Well, who are you?’” Frot-Coutaz told Access. “People knew who Cheryl was and when she walked into the arena, people knew who Cheryl was and they understood her [accent]. I think it was more of a trade off in terms of the franchise.”
Frot-Coutaz suggested that Simon Cowell’s own departure from “The X Factor’s” UK branch to the U.S. edition was responsible for producers thinking it might be best to keep Cole on the British show.
“The English, they were looking for their panel in England,” she said. “After Simon’s departure, they had to recast the British show.”
Darnell confirmed that Cole’s exit will be featured as part of “The X Factor” when it begins this September.
“We’ll have to,” he said.
“We’re going to air the shows as they happened,” Frot-Coutaz added.
“Effectively, Cheryl was with us for two cities and when we air those two cities, she’ll be in the scenes,” Frot-Coutaz added. “There’s not a big explanation. Sometimes you have guest judges and they’re there for a couple of cities and you don’t dwell on the judges… It’s about the talent; it’s about the auditions; it’s about the contestants.”
“The X Factor” premiers on FOX on September 21.