The former Pussycat Doll starred as Grizabella in the 2014 London revival of Lloyd Webber's classic musical, and she was set to reprise the role when the show returned to Broadway for previews beginning on 14 July (16).

While rumours have been swirling that Nicole is set to return to The X Factor, on which she worked as a judge in 2012 and 2013, the famed composer/theatre producer has more or less confirmed the news by saying that he felt foolish when he learnt the singer was no longer going to be partaking in Cats.

"A week before we were going to go into rehearsal with Cats on Broadway, which luckily I'm not producing, she calls me and says she's decided she wants to do X Factor, having agreed everything," he told The Economist Radio. "I mean, she's crazy. But the American producers just took a view, they said, 'Well, fine, we'll get somebody else', because she's actually not very well known in America amazingly. She's much better known here...

"I'm furious because I really believe she's the most fantastically talented girl and I went out on a limb to get her for the London Palladium here, and it makes me look like an absolute twot (sic) with them all... But never mind, there'll be another girl on Broadway and Nicole will not get her Tony Award."

Reports suggest Nicole will be joining Simon Cowell and returning judges Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh on the panel, but the line-up hasn't been confirmed.

Nicole, 37, has issued a statement in response to the composer's comments to defend herself by insisting she hadn't even signed a contract for Cats.

"I had every intention of doing Cats on Broadway but the contract was never finalised," she told the Evening Standard. "I am incredibly blessed to be given so many amazing opportunities, including Cats, but unfortunately we weren’t able to make it work this time around... I adore and respect Andrew, I’m so grateful for our friendship and can’t wait for the opportunity to create more magic together."