Simon Cowell

It's time to move on from the drama over the sudden shift in judges on The X Factor. So says Simon Cowell of British pop singer Cheryl Cole's sudden replacement by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, originally slated as the show's co-host. "It's about the contestants, they've got no interest in us bickering," Cowell told TV Guide Magazine at the show's auditions in Newark, NJ on June 9.

Audition rounds already taped that include Cole will be aired when the show premieres in September. "I mean it's reality TV, there's no point in lying about it," Cowell said. "But you know, we didn't kill anyone." The bruhaha came about after Cowell offered to switch Cole back to the UK version of The X Factor; when that didn't work out, he offered her the U.S. slot back, but Cole said no. Hard feelings have evidently arisen. Added Cowell, "I miss her as a friend."

The choice of Scherzinger was a no-brainer. "I think she would have killed me if I had given the job to someone else," he said, laughing. "She's very good at this. She knows what she's doing and so it was an easy transition."

Scherzinger is elated to slide into the judge's seat alongside Cowell, Paula Abdul and Antonio "L.A." Reid. "I'm so excited," she said. "It's an amazing opportunity and I can't wait." She deftly sidestepped questions about Cole. "I think she is a lovely beautiful girl and she made the right decision for her."

L.A. Reid calls Scherzinger "amazing. She knows talent. She's a star, look at her. She has a greater perspective than I do. She knows what it takes to do it."

Abdul and Cowell are continuing their reunion honeymoon, with Abdul planting a kiss on Cowell's lips before the start of auditions at the Prudential Center. "We're having a blast," she said. "I am so grateful to be on this show. I'm having the time of my life."