X Factor USA: Cheryl Cole upstaged by Paula Abdul and mocked by Simon Cowell

X Factor USA: Cheryl Cole upstaged by Paula Abdul and mocked by Simon Cowell

Upstaged by Paula Abdul, mocked by Cowell and Americans can”t understand a word she says… Has Cheryl Cole lost her X Factor

7:53 AM on 23rd May 2011

Speculation is rife about what on earth has happened to Cheryl Cole’s pretty face.

Does her forehead owe its apparent immobility to Botox Is she looking fuller around the cheeks because of cosmetic fillers — or is a failed diet to blame for the beginnings of a double chin

An alternative explanation is that the poor girl is being driven almost cross-eyed with irritation by American singer and fellow U.S. X Factor judge Paula Abdul.

Disastrous: Cheryl Cole arrives for The X Factor LA auditions held at the Galen Center in Los Angeles wearing the now infamous Barbie lookDisastrous: Cheryl Cole arrives for The X Factor LA auditions held at the Galen Center in Los Angeles wearing the now infamous Barbie look

Disastrous: Cheryl Cole arrives for The X Factor LA auditions held at the Galen Center in Los Angeles wearing the now infamous Barbie look

On Monday, after flying back to America from the Cannes Film Festival, she was comprehensively upstaged by Abdul, who at 21 years older could be her mother.

Cheryl sported a ladylike tangerine Giambattista Valli dress (I’m told she regrets the ‘bad taste Barbie’ look at auditions last week of purple flares, turquoise belt and a frilly orange top).

Paula, 48, went for the jugular in a slash-necked, skin-tight red Alexander McQueen number.

Simon Cowell cast his vote by spending most of the photocall gazing at Paula’s chest, mesmerised. Cheryl stood at the end of the line up, looking unhappy.

The big problem for Cheryl is that Paula andSimon developed their own chemistry after judging American Idol for eight years.

Cheryl’s said to be in a state of ‘panic’ about her American adventure — and regaining Simon Cowell’s favour from Paula is top of her to-do list.

Improvement: The singer wears a far better outfit during an appearance at the Chicago leg of auditionsImprovement: The singer wears a far better outfit during an appearance at the Chicago leg of auditionsImprovement: The singer wears a far better outfit during an appearance at the Chicago leg of auditions

Improvement: The singer wears a far better outfit during an appearance at the Chicago leg of auditions

But her friendship with Cowell has become so cool, he mocked her big hair over the weekend.

‘Big It was the equivalent of five gallons of hairspray and then standing in the middle of a hurricane,’ he scoffed.

Publicly, Cowell says she will settle into her role. But privately, he is not according her the favouritism she received in the British version of the show.

So after all the hype over whether she would land a judging role in America, perhaps she’s justified in feelingmore than a little miffed.

Worse still, no one in America hasa clue who she is — many U.S. magazines are not even bothering to mention she is a judge with Abdul and record executive L.A. Reid.

Some auditionees reportedly had trouble understanding a word she said, too. And she was booed on her second day after sending three acts home.

Uncomfortable: At the 2011 Fox Upfront event in New York Cheryl stood at the end of the star line up, looking unhappy

Uncomfortable: At the 2011 Fox Upfront event in New York Cheryl stood at the end of the star line up, looking unhappy

Seeing red: After flying back to America from the Cannes Film Festival, Cheryl was comprehensively upstaged by Abdul, who at 21 years older could be her mother

Seeing red: After flying back to America from the Cannes Film Festival, Cheryl was comprehensively upstaged by Abdul, who at 21 years older could be her mother

There are also dangers lurking if America does wake up to Cheryl-mania. She may then find her criminal past — and that of her family — tell against her in the highly conservative U.S.

She was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm back in 2003 after an altercation at a nightclub in Guildford.

Her sister Gillian was bound over to keep the peace after getting into a fist fight while celebrating Cheryl reaching the final of Popstars: The Rivals in 2002. And her brother Andrew, is serving six years for robbery.

On top of all this, she seems to have been given the role on the show as Little Miss Irritating.

Havingwitnessed the way she annoyed Louis Walsh, occasionally refused to vote, bawled out Wagner and made herself unpopular on The X Factor here,Cowell is hoping she will pull the same strokes in the U.S.

He has called her ‘a complete brat’ in a carefully judged interview.

Language barrier: Some auditionees have apparently been having trouble understanding what Cheryl saysLanguage barrier: Some auditionees have apparently been having trouble understanding what Cheryl says

Language barrier: Some auditionees have apparently been having trouble understanding what Cheryl says

Askedif she and Abdul would get along he said: ‘You put pretty girls together it’s like three cats in a sack. And it needs a bit of a shake.’

He delivered that shake by sitting with Abdul and then moving Cheryl into that seat.

Cowell knows that conflict among the judges is a brilliant way of selling a show — and he really needs to sell this one as it is competingagainst American Idol, now a bigger hit than before with new panellistsJennifer Lopez and Aerosmith star Steve Tyler.

Abdul said at first that Cole was ‘sweet & lovely’ on her Twitter page. She has since downgraded the praise to observe that the panel is ‘fun’ and that it is ‘cool’ to have a live audience.

One source in Los Angeles insists that Abdul is already ‘extremely peeved’ about the flirtatious closeness between Simon and Cheryl.

Apart from that photocall, Paula kept all the judges waiting for two hours last week because she was holding out for certain conditions in her contract,including an assurance that she should sit next to Cowell.

Still got the X Factor: Cheryl Cole

Still got the X Factor: Cheryl Cole”s chances of recreating her success on the UK version of the show across the Atlantic are already looking slim

Cherylshould be prepared for battle. But she’s without her mother Joan Callaghan, a constant by her side as her marriage to footballer Ashley Cole disintegrated, who has not been able to be with her.

Instead, Cheryl has her brother, Garry Tweedy, the baby of the family at 23.

The plan is for Joan to come out when the show reaches the live stages in the autumn. Until then, Cheryl seems destined to be living in hotels across the country.

Last week she was at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, spending nearly all her time in her room.

As for the clothes, I’m told that she has taken advice from her regular stylist Victoria Adcock. And after that disastrous appearance last week, Simon Cowell has now reportedly ordered several LA stylists to pull together different looks for the live shows.

And romantically, there doesn’t seem to be anything going on. Cheryl’s reported romance with dancer Derek Hough appears over.

And her music career She has not yet signed a contract to release her music in America. Universal came close, but she is not yet on their books.

Possibly they are waiting to see how America reacts to her when The X Factor USA is screened in September.

There is also a fear that her strong Geordie accent may stop her making an impact on the show — a suggestion Cheryl dismisses as ‘silly’.

She denies she is taking elocution lessons, but maybe she should reconsider.

Mel Bromley of US Weekly says: ‘I think the only thing that will hinder Cheryl will be her accent.’

But she adds: ‘Right now, Cheryl has the perfect look for Hollywood. It is a very shallow place and puts a lot of emphasis on beauty.’

But, as Simon Cowell will have warned her, looking good is only half the battle.