Nicole Scherzinger kept schtum when she was invited to gush over Cheryl Fernandez-Versini at this year’s X Factor launch.

The former Pussycat Doll, 38, was quizzed about whether she would have liked the ex Girls Aloud singer, 33, to have joined her on this year’s judging panel of the TV show.

“Are you not disappointed that you missed out on Cheryl?” she was asked on the red carpet of the glitzy event.

But Nicole remained silent, perhaps not hearing the question.

When she was asked again, “Cheryl Fernandez-Versini?”, Nicole did not answer and instead looked away.

The star did have warm words for the current line-up of judges, featuring Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne.

The new X Factor judging panel, starring Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell (Thames / Syco Entertainment)

She said of Sharon: “Mrs O, I call her OG, the original gangster, she’s the mama. I’m really close with her. The people on the panel. They’re my family.”

Cheryl was replaced by Nicole on the US version of The X Factor after being fired amid claims US audiences struggled with her Geordie accent.

In her autobiography, the British singer described the pair’s first meeting as “awkward”.

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini said her first meeting with Nicole was “so awkward” (Ian West/PA)

Cheryl said that she was left cringing after Nicole sang her track Promise This back to her.

“I swear to God the woman sang the whole song, to my face. It was just so awkward,” she wrote.

Nicole later said of Cheryl’s remarks: “I’d like to give her the benefit of the doubt and hope that she would only have spoken highly of me because I’ve not spoken poorly of her.”