Nicole Scherzinger is, essentially, "the new girl" on the "X Factor USA" panel. Originally recruited to co-host the show with British TV presenter Steve Jones, she got an unexpected promotion to judge after original judge Cheryl Cole was suprisingly fired. Cheryl had already shot some episodes at the Los Angeles auditions in May, but after that, Nicole took seat on the judging panel, sitting alongside old "Idol" friends Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul and music industry veteran L.A. Reid.
Of course, Nicole is no newbie to reality TV: She got her big break via "Popstars," won "Dancing With The Stars," and was a judge on "The Sing-Off" for two seasons. But "The X Factor" is an unprecented opportunity for her. "I cried," she told reporters last week, discussing her reaction to receiving the once-in-a-lifetime job offer.
Yes, backstage at "So You Think You Can Dance" last week (after Nicole's musical performance on that series' results show), the main subject on reporters' minds was the chemistry among all four "X Factor" judges--especially since Nicole was late to the game. Is she fitting in? And how does she feel sitting next to cronies Simon and Paula?
"I'm loving watching Paula and Simon; they're like 'The Paula & Simon Show,'" Nicole laughed. "My 'teammate' is L.A. Reid, and he's unbelievable. I learn so much from him just every day that I'm with him. We have amazing chemistry, the four of us. I'm so grateful to be on that panel."
As for how she's getting along with the notoriously cantankeous Simon, Nicole said: "Unfortunately, I agree with about half of what he says; and the other half, sometimes, I gotta yell at him. Or me and Paula have to throw blueberries at him, occasionally."
As for whether the new "X Factor" promo, which came out last week, blasts Simon and Paula's old show "American Idol," Nicole was as neutral as Switzerland on that issue. "Oh, I don't know. I'm a fan of 'American Idol' and 'The Voice,'" she said. "But I saw the commercial and thought it was brilliant...and I thought, 'Simon is a pretty damn good actor!'"
"The X Factor USA" premieres on Fox September 21.
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