The X Factor

Nicole Scherzinger

Full name: Nicole Elikolani Valiente Prescovia Scherzinger
Nicknames: Cola, Elikolani, Nikki
Date of birth: June 29, 1978
Hometown: Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and raised in Louisville, Kentucky
Education: Dropped out of Wright State University in Ohio
Boyfriend: Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton
Twitter: @NicoleScherzy

Nicole Scherzinger Links:

- She Wore What?! Fashion From Nicole Scherzinger's Days As a Pussycat Doll
- Fashion Hits and Misses: Nicole Scherzinger's Strangest and Sexiest Looks
- 5 Things You Need to Know About Nicole Scherzinger
- Why Did Nicole Scherzinger Replace Cheryl Cole As an X Factor Judge?

Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, Nicole Scherzinger loved to sing and dreamed of being the next Whitney Houston. Drawing on her high school background in musical theater, she dropped out of Ohio's Wright State University to tour as a backup singer for the rock band Days of the New.

Nicole's first big break came when she auditioned for The WB reality series Popstars, which assembled an all-girl group. Nicole wowed the producers and won a spot in the group, which was called Eden's Crush.

Eden's Crush scored a hit with "Get Over Yourself (Goodbye)," but the band broke up in 2001. Nicole went on to audition for a burlesque dance group looking for a lead singer. The dance group, The Pussycat Dolls, was ready to take their underground status mainstream with a recording group.

The rest is platinum history. With Nicole as their leader, The Pussycat Dolls enjoyed a string of pop hits — including "Buttons" and "Don't Cha" — and worldwide fame. Though Nicole will always consider herself a Doll, she's spent the last couple years working on a solo career. She also squeezed in a season of Dancing With the Stars, waltzing away with the Season 10 Mirrorball Trophy with partner Derek Hough.

And then came Simon… Originally cast as a co-host of The X Factor, Nicole found herself bumped up to the judges’ panel when producers axed original judge Cheryl Cole. Nicole 1, Cheryl 0. (It’s actually more like Nicole 2, Cheryl 0 — back in 2010, Nicole appeared on the British version of The X Factor as a guest judge, but she ended up returning to cover for Cheryl after Cheryl contracted malaria on vacation.)

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