By ANDREA MAGRATH
The Sex Factor: Nicole Scherzinger was pictured taking a dip in her hotel in France last week
The ongoing saga of the U.S. X Factor judging panel may finally be over.
Show bosses have announced that Nicole Scherzinger will indeed be replacing Cheryl Cole.
And the Pussycat Doll proved perhaps why she became a favourite of show bosses as she cooled off in a pool in France last week.
The 32-year-old stripped down to a white bikini and flimsy T-shirt to take a dip at her hotel in southern France before flying back to the UK.
Nicole filmed an appearance on the Graham Norton show today, but will be jetting off again soon to start her new role at the New Jersey auditions on Wednesday.
It emerged over the weekend that Cole had been invited to return to her role after being fired a fortnight ago, but the 27-year-old has snubbed the offer, leaving the Pussycat Doll free to take her place.
Finally confirmed: X Factor have announced that Nicole Scherzinger IS replacing Cheryl Cole on the judging panel
Fox, FremantleMedia North America and Syco TV released a statement this afternoon announcing the news.
It read: 'Nicole Scherzinger will be replacing Cheryl Cole on the judging panel of The X Factor.
'Nicole will join Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid and Paula Abdul on their search across America to find the next global superstar or group to win the life-changing $5million dollar recording deal.
The smile says it all: Nicole is in the UK where she was pictured at the ITV studios today ahead of flying back to the U.S. for X Factor auditions on Wednesday
'Nicole has previously joined Simon Cowell as a guest judge on The X Factor for the UK version of the show in 2010. Steve Jones will act as sole host of The X Factor.'
Show bosses did an unexpected U-turn when they offered Cheryl her job back on Saturday.
She was given 24 hours to decide, but after previously knocking back a consolation-style offer of returning to her old post on the UK version, Cheryl now appears to be severing ties with the franchise.
She's got talent: Nicole, pictured performing on Britain's Got Talent last week, will be joining Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and L.A. Reid following Cheryl's departure
Show sources were quick to point out that an official comment had never been released confirming Mrs Cole’s axing – and that her picture and biography had been kept up on the Fox X Factor website.
But friends of the Girls Aloud star believe their silence is part of Fox executives' plan to wriggle out of paying Cheryl out - as they were banking on her not turning up to the next auditions on Wednesday, making her in breach of contract.
But the singer is thought to have threatened to make public emails and text messages that prove she was indeed fired, the Daily Mirror claim.
Thanks but no thanks: Cheryl turned down Fox's offer to return to the U.S. version
Nicole Scherzinger feat. 50 CENT - Right There (Live American Idol)