'Cheryl was just a cog in the wheel'

Just when all the X Factor furore was starting to calm down, and we thought we'd never hear the words 'Cheryl', 'purple trousers' or 'big hair' again in our lifetime, up pops another trouble-maker to stir the gossip pot. Nicole Scherzinger's ex-manager, Jeff Haddad, has given an interview claiming that the Pussycat Doll was 'always the front-runner' for the judging slot, and that Cheryl was merely used as a tool to whip up excitement and more publicity.

Jeff told The Sun, 'Simon Cowell always wanted her as a judge. There was never a question that she wouldn't get it. I had long discussions with Simon about her judging the US show and she was always a front-runner for that job. Cheryl's name never came into it. Cheryl was just being used as a cog in the wheel to cause hype and publicise the show. Nicole was never supposed to be a host. I think Cheryl's accent never came into it - it was an excuse. Americans are used to all sorts of accents.'

More US X Factor conspiracy theories? We don't think our stress levels can take it...

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