herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

THIS IS ONE DOLL WHO DOES NOTHING BY HALVES

chris wasser meets nicole scherzinger

Timing is everything. Just ask Nicole Scherzinger, the former Pussycat Dolls lead singer-turned solo superstar. There never has been a good time for the American (33) to release a slick, shiny and over-produced record of her own.

A finished debut album (Her Name is Nicole) never saw the light of day. Killer Love (Nicole's second attempt) was released everywhere but the States last year. Oh, and her stint as a judge on The US X Factor came to an end after just one season. Still, this hasn't stopped the Hawaiian-born artist becoming a household name, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Indeed, the last time Nicole played to an Irish audience it was as part of the Pussycat Dolls' globe-conquering Doll Domination tour. Ten million album sales later, and a constant change in line-up had begun to take its toll. In 2010, Nicole walked away from the Dolls.

Another line-up is currently being assembled, with a new album on the cards, too. Must be a little strange?

"Well, I'd like to value myself enough to say I was a big part of The Pussycat Dolls," she replies, "and that there's gonna be nothing else ever like it again. So I'm supportive and I wish them the best."

Joining Simon's Cowell's empire in 2011 after a judging slot on the UK X Factor was a huge honour for Nicole. It wasn't without its controversies, however. Nicole originally signed on to the US version as a host, before replacing Cheryl Cole as a permanent judge. After our interview, it's announced that Nicole -- along with host Steve Jones and fellow judge Paula Abdul -- won't return for another season.

"It was an amazing ride," she says. "It was a crazy rollercoaster. I don't do anything halfway, so I put 110pc into it. I worked with my contestants every single day."

"Nothing could prepare me for the elimination process," she continues. "At the end of the day, I'm an artist first, not a judge. I could really empathise, and I know what it felt like to be up there, whether you're winning or losing."

I wonder if she's been in touch with Gary Lightbody recently. The Snow Patrol front man contributed a song to the album that never was, before the band reclaimed it as a single (the infectious Just Say Yes).

"No I haven't," she says. "Obviously, when I come to Dublin to do my show, I'll invite Gary and the boys. I'm a huge fan of his Just Say Yes and it was an honour for me that he allowed me to make my own version of it. Maybe I'll surprise the fans with it in Dublin . . ."

Nicole Scherzinger plays the Olympia Theatre tomorrow

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