1. It's been a long road to Hollywood. Nicole Elikolani Valiente Prescovia Scherzinger is Hawaiian, Filipino, and Russian. She was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, but raised in Louisville, Kentucky. She briefly attended Wright State University in Ohio before dropping out to tour as a backup singer with rock band Days of the New.
2. She can relate to The X Factor contestants. In 2001 Nicole won a spot in girl group Eden's Crush on The WB's reality show Popstars. An international franchise, Popstars inspired Pop Idol, which is American Idol's forefather. Eden's Crush scored a Top 10 hit with "Get Over Yourself (Goodbye)" — but the group disbanded in 2003. Fun fact: Cheryl Cole, the judge Nicole replaced on The X Factor, won the U.K.'s season of Popstars in 2003. Cheryl's group, Girls Aloud, remains one of the U.K.'s most wildly successful girl groups of all time.
3. She was the original choice for the Black Eyed Peas. Even though Fergie propelled the Black Eyed Peas to superstardom, Will.I.Am actually offered her spot to Nicole first. Since she was still under contract with Eden's Crush, she had to turn it down, but Nicole and Will.I.Am remain close friends.
4. She inspired 311's song "Amber." In the early 2000s, Nicole was engaged to 311 singer Nick Hexum. Though they broke up in 2004, Nicole is immortalized in their 2002 hit "Amber," which Nick wrote about her. She also briefly appears in the music video.
5. She's a true triple threat. Nicole can sing, dance (she was Dancing With the Stars' season 10 winner), and she can act. She's appeared in television shows such as How I Met Your Mother and Wanda at Large, and she will appear in Men in Black 3 next year.