Cheryl Cole has reportedly been offered double her usual fee – just over £2m – to rejoin The X Factor in the UK, according to the papers.
The Mail On Sunday reports that the Girls Aloud singer has been told she must decide by today whether or not she will return to the show, ahead of auditions beginning in Birmingham on Wednesday.
But the paper adds that the 27-year-old is reportedly unsure about accepting the offer following her humiliation on the US version of the show.
And there is speculation that Simon Cowell is preparing to release a statement which will say that Cheryl was not sacked from the show but quit after receiving a better offer back in Britain.
“Cheryl is deeply humiliated and she wants Simon to make it clear that she wasn’t sacked, but was needed back in Britain,” an insider said.
“It’s a face-saving measure and it’s very important to Cheryl.”
Another source told the paper that Simon Cowell was trying to convince Cheryl to return to the show.
“The truth is that Cheryl is in a major sulk and she may turn the offer down.
“At the moment it’s a possibility, no one knows what she’s going to do, but the feeling is that if she turns down X Factor in the UK it really would be career suicide.”
Meanwhile the Sunday Mirror has reported that Cheryl is refusing to take calls from show bosses – and has broken her silence on the situation for the first time, asking “Why did Simon Cowell do this to me?”
A source added, “She’s been told to get a grip, grow up and pick yourself up or you’ll lose the British show too.”
“It’s tough, but we start filming the UK programme on Wednesday. No one is bigger than the show, that’s what she has to realise. If Cheryl doesn’t want to do it we’ll just go on without her.
“It’s very worrying that she’s refusing to engage with us. We need a dialogue but she won’t answer the phone.
However friends of Cheryl’s reacted angrily to the ultimatum, saying that the singer had taken a massive blow and could not just pick herself up again.
“Her life has been turned upside down,” one of her close advisors said. “At the moment she is trying to work out what to do with her life. If she doesn’t give them an answer and they go with someone else, then they go with someone else.
“They can’t just force her into a decision. Who knows, she might just decide to take some time out and disappear for a while.”