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Cheryl Cole to replace Sharon Osbourne on The X Factor

LONDON - Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole is to replace Sharon Osbourne as one of the four judges on ITV1's 'The X Factor'.

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Cole, who has attracted publicity for her marital difficulties with husband Chelsea and England star Ashley Cole, will join Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Dannii Minogue on filming of the fifth series of the hit ITV1 reality show this week.

The appointment came after Osbourne announced she would be leaving, amid newspaper reports of alleged rows between her and Minogue and demands for more money. It is reported that she asked for a £1m pay-rise to take her total salary to £2.5m.

She told the Daily Mirror: "Yes I asked for a ridiculous amount and they offered me an obscene amount. It is ridiculous in this industry. We all get paid too much, that is why we are all drama queens."

Of her replacement, she told the paper: "I've heard they're asking Cheryl from Girls Aloud... I would like to see Cheryl, it will take the show to a different place."

Osbourne has denied the accusations and said she had decided to leave because of her workload and US TV work -- she is a judge on 'America's Got Talent' alongside Piers Morgan.

It is understood that Spice Girl Mel B had been the other frontrunner for the job.

Cole said: "I'm so excited to be part of such a great show and although it's scary joining a huge programme like 'The X Factor', it's a massive honour to be following in the footsteps of Sharon Osbourne.

"The rest of the girls have said they're right behind me, which is really important for me as it will be weird to be on the other side of the fence this time.

"So whilst we get started on the next album, it will be brilliant to be a judge on The X Factor."

John Kaye Cooper, the ITV controller of entertainment, added: "Cheryl is not only an amazingly successful, sassy and talented woman but through her winning 'Popstars: The Rivals' has been through similar experiences to those hopefuls who want to take 'The X Factor' crown."

Filming on the new series is due to begin on Thursday with the London auditions at Arsenal Football Club's Emirates stadium. The show begins broadcasting in September.

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