Cheryl Tweedy is insisting her Girls Aloud bandmate Kimberley Walsh takes her place on X Factor if she is too ill to make the show.
Cheryl, 27, who has been told by doctors she may need six months off work as she battles malaria, says she could think of no one more suitable to fill her role as a judge on the new series, which goes live this autumn.
A close friend of the singer said she is “tearful and depressed” about her illness, which she caught from a mosquito bite while holidaying with dancer friend Derek Hough in Africa.
And her mother Joan Callaghan is said to be furious with X Factor bosses who believed she was hung-over when she turned up for work at the Cardiff auditions last week…when in fact she was showing early signs of the illness. X Factor supremo Simon Cowell, even joked that Cheryl had a hangover. But the following day she collapsed and has been in hospital since last Sunday.
The friend said: “Joan thinks the X Factor should have stepped in sooner and allowed Cheryl some time off.
“Now there is no way she will let Cheryl get back to work until she is 100 per cent well.”
Both Cheryl and her manager Hilary Shaw have been pushing Cowell to bring in Kimberley to take over – although Cowell is keen on former Pop Idol star Myleene Klass. Cheryl’s illness has already forced her to pull out of this weekend’s X Factor auditions in Manchester where Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger appeared as a guest judge. The friend told the Sunday Mirror: “Doctors have told Cheryl that in the worst case she might need to take six months off.
“So she’s already making plans for what to do if she can’t return for the new series.”
Aaaw I love Kimba, but I really hope Cheryl can make the show and recovers in time for it, The X Factor will literally be nothing without her.