When it was announced earlier this month that British singer Cheryl Cole had been selected as a judge on Simon Cowell's upcoming American version of The X Factor -- for a reported $2 million a year -- some TV columnists expressed surprise, noting that Cole is a virtual unknown in the U.S. and speaks with a so-called Geordie accent (she's from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the north of England) that is difficult even for some Britons to understand. Cowell, assured the writers that Cole had proven herself to be a witty and insightful judge on the U.K. version of the show and few people complained about her accent. Nevertheless, reports on both sides of the Atlantic said Wednesday that after taping two weeks of audition shows Cole has been fired and will be replaced with former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, who was originally hired to co-host X Factor. Gossip website TMZ.com, which originally reported the firing, said that besides the accent problem, producers had concluded that she lacked chemistry with fellow judge Paula Abdul. In what appeared to be a face-saving effort, a person close to the show has been telling reporters that Cole was leaving because she had become homesick. The London Sun quoted the source as saying, "It hasn't worked out. She's homesick and wants to return to the U.K. She's had enough." Only last week, Cowell told the London Daily Mail that "the audience seemed to warm to Cheryl. ... No problems with the understanding."