Brits Debate Cheryl Cole Accent Factor

American TV viewers have long loved the sound of Simon Cowell’s accented put-downs. But the British media aren’t so sure U.S. viewers might take as quickly to the Newcastle upon Tyne brogue of Cheryl Cole, hyped as a likely judge alongside Cowell this fall’s FOX’s redo of  The X Factor.

BBC reporter Jon Kelly suggests the last time a Newcastle accent this thick hit the American entertainment airwaves, it was in the form of Animals lead singer Eric Burdon. Sting and Bryan Ferry, he argues, have much milder versions of the regional twang. A fellow UK reporter offers up this perspective:

Sunday Mirror TV critic Kevin O’Sullivan, who served as a correspondent in Los Angeles for eight years, suggests that the issue is simply one of familiarity for most Americans. “Their reaction to Cheryl is not to be confused with prejudice – it’s purely logistical,” he says. “If you think of how a really extreme Glaswegian accent sounds in London, that’s what Cheryl Cole sounds like to an American.”

Let’s hope things go more smoothly for Cole, if she gets the gig, than they did for UK personalities Ant and Dec on the 2007 U.S. game show Wanna Bet. According to the article, show producers enlisted an interpreter at LA tapings to press a button every time the pair said something in Newcastle English (a.k.a. Geordie) that might confound a Yank audience. Muckle wise.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.