Simon Cowell has revealed how he told Cheryl Cole she needed to "raise" her game on the US X Factor - but said he'd hire her again "in a heartbeat".
The music mogul said he dropped the Girls Aloud star from the panel of the US show as he could see she was not as comfortable as she had been working on the UK X Factor. But he told The Hollywood Reporter he wouldn't hesitate to offer her a role on another of his TV projects.
Simon defended his decision to replace her with Nicole Scherzinger in the US, saying: "You're not drowning puppies here. You're offering someone who's got millions of dollars more money and more work. And if people think that's cruel, then they can do that to me on a daily basis. I'll take it twice a day."
The 51-year-old star - dubbed TV's Mr Nasty - compared Cheryl's popularity in the UK to that of Princess Diana.
But he said: "I came to the conclusion that she may not be as comfortable here (in the US) because I was seeing a different person. She was like Princess Diana when she would walk out in England, and I accepted the fact that people didn't know her here, but I think it did have an effect on her..
"I said, 'Cheryl, you've got to raise your game a bit. This is America, it's a much tougher market.'"
Simon confirmed that he offered Cheryl the chance to return to UK X Factor, but negotiations fell apart and they hadn't spoken since.
He said: "She missed the deadline which meant she'd lost the UK show.
"I asked [her manager] Will.i.am, 'How does she feel about it?' He said, 'It's none of your concern.'
"I never heard from her... I think her silence was quite damning."