X Factor USA critics PREFER Cheryl Cole to Nicole Scherzinger: oooh!

Cheryl was soon booted off 'X Factor USA' but critics think she was good / PA
The moment we've all been waiting for has finally arrived: the first episode of 'X Factor USA' aired and the critics' verdicts are in *drum roll*

After just a few weeks on the job Cheryl Cole was axed from the show, with Simon Cowell calling Cheryl "bewildered" and claiming he thought she'd be more comfortable back on the UK version of X Factor.

Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger made the transition from host to judge and moved into Cheryl's still-warm seat on the judging panel alongside Simon, Paul Abdul and L.A. Reid.

So did Simon make the right decision? Apparently NOT!

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New York Times' Neil Glenzinger gave his verdict of Nicole replacing Cheryl with the cutting remark: "It's a downgrade." Wowzers.

Tell us more...

"Ms Cole showed glimmers of being interesting; in two seasons as a judge on The Sing-Off on NBC, Ms. Scherzinger was a pretty face but, judicially speaking, not much more than a seat warmer."

OK, so the East Coast has got Cheryl's back. What about the West Coast?

Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara concurs: "Cowell has said he replaced Cole because she seemed 'bewildered,' but on a first impression, she is much more interesting than Scherzinger, if only for her fabulous Geordie accent."

Don't just take their word for it, though. Chicago Tribune's Steve Johnson also says: "Scherzinger doesn't come off as an obvious improvement in the early going."

Cheryl must be having a small smile to herself. She also got revenge on Simon by refusing to join Britain's Got Talent as a judge.

Maybe Simon doesn't always know best...

Spot the difference: Cheryl and Nicole's outfits at 'X Factor USA' auditions / WireImage