will.i.am on Cheryl Cole's X Factor return: 'Hats off for going back'

Published Friday, Apr 4 2014, 13:50 BST  |  By  |  Add comment
will.i.am has described Cheryl Cole as "strong" for making a return to The X Factor judging panel this year.

The Voice UK judge, who has collaborated with Cheryl and has previously managed her, said he was "proud" of the Girls Aloud star for making a comeback.

will.i.am appears on Alan Carr's Chatty Man (airs: Friday 4 April 2014).

© Channel 4 / Alan Carr: Chatty Man

Cheryl left The X Factor UK for its US version in 2011, but only lasted three weeks before being replaced by then-presenter Nicole Scherzinger.

Speaking on Alan Carr: Chatty Man, which will air tonight (4 April), will said: "Do you know how strong you have to be to go back and do that? One, so hats off and applause and salute you for finding the strength to go back after that happened to you.

Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole in their first publicity picture for X Factor 2014

© Twitter / @thexfactor

Cheryl is now back on The X Factor with Simon

"Second, the reason is because she's experienced a lot and has a lot of wisdom and experience to give to these people who want to sing and aspire to be like Cheryl and have a strong background and thick skin to overcome and do the impossible.

"So hats off to you for that. And you can guide these kids and singers who want that platform and compete, and you have a lot of knowledge to exchange through your experience, the heartaches and the pains, and I'm proud of her for that."

'X Factor' TV Programme, Judges Houses - Sep 2010
Judges Houses Cheryl Cole at Coworth Park in Ascot with guest judge Will I Am from The Black Eyed Peas

© REX/TalkbackThames

will also helped out close friend Cheryl when she was a judge on The X Factor UK in 2010.

This isn't the first time that will has spoken about Cheryl's now-famous dismissal. In April last year, will spoke about the moment he confronted music mogul and X Factor boss Simon Cowell over Cheryl's axe.

The 39-year-old Black Eyed Peas star explained: "With the incident that happened with Cheryl, I was like, 'Hey Simon, Cheryl asked me to manage her, I have to fight for her, but I hope it doesn't change how you view me as an artist'."

Watch will.i.am talk about The X Factor, judging on The Voice UK and see an exclusive clip from his brand new song 'It's My Birthday' on Alan Carr: Chatty Man tonight at 10pm on Channel 4.

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