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Auditions began in Los Angeles earlier this month (May11), but Cole was axed this week (begs23May11). She will reportedly be replaced by Nicole Scherzinger.

Abdul, who previously worked with Cowell on American Idol, reveals she was travelling when the news broke, and admits she will be sad to see Cole go.

She tells reporters during a promotional trip to Singapore, "This is all news to me. This apparently has captured the news while I was travelling so I'm just finding out things as you are. I don't know whether this is true. You probably know more than I do.

"All I can tell you is that she is lovely, and I was really excited about the relationship and friendship we were forging. Regardless (of what happens), I'm looking forward to continuing that. She's lovely."