Credit: Butterworth/Splash News Photo: Cheryl Cole at The X Factor's Chicago Auditions on May 19, 2011

Looks like X Factor mainstay Simon Cowell has a lot to atone for! First he gave Melanie Amaro the boot, only to fly out to beg her to return (and a good thing, too!). Now, according to the Daily Mail, Cowell’s getting cold feet about another young woman he mercilessly axed — but this one was once in front of the stage, not on it.

That’s right: Cowell’s negotiating with Cheryl Cole to get her back on The X Factor. Nicole Scherzinger can breathe a sigh of relief, though, as Cowell wants to return Cole to her ancestral home in the U.K.

So why would Cowell sack Cole in the U.S. only to beg her to return in the U.K.? Well, as you might be able to guess, it’s all about the ratings — The X Factor U.K.’s not doing so hot, and Cowell thinks that Cole’s incredible popularity (she mentored two winning contestants in a row) will get things back on track. In other words, Cowell “does feel that the nation is missing Cheryl.”

But what about this nation, dear readers? Are you missing Cheryl, too, or is Nicole Scherzinger doing a good enough job to make you forget the past?

Source: Daily Mail