Singer Nicole Scherzinger was born in Hawaii in 1978. She first made a name for herself as a contestant on the WB reality series Popstars, which propelled the young singer to lead vocals for the all-girls band Eden's Crush. In 2003,she stepped as the front-woman for the group the Pussycat Dolls. Since leaving the band in 2009, Scherzinger has enjoyed continued success, in the recording studio and as a judge on The X Factor.
Nicole Scherzinger was born Nicole Prescovia Elikolani Valiente in Honolulu, Hawaii, on June 29, 1978. Scherzinger, whose parents separated when she was an infant, moved with her mother, Rosemary, and her stepfather, George Scherzinger, to Louisville, Kentucky, when she was 6 years old. She would spend the rest of her childhood there.
As she later recalled, Scherzinger's life took a dramatic turn not long after moving, when she was given a cassette tape of Whitney Houston. After listening to the songs, Scherzinger says she knew immediately she wanted to be a singer. "My parents had no money, but they got me this player and Whitney's album," she recalled. "That was it for me. From that moment on I wanted to sing. Her voice was so powerful; every note she sang just felt like the truth."
After that, Scherzinger made performance a focus of her life. She eventually attended a performing arts high school and later enrolled at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, where she studied theater and dance.
But eager to jump-start her career, Scherzinger left college early after getting an opportunity to sing back-up for the rock group Days of the New. More recognition came in 2001, when, as a contestant on the WB television series Popstars, she won the role of lead singer for soon-to-be created all-girl band Eden's Crush. To the surprise of some, the group cracked the Billboard charts with their first single, "Get Over Yourself." However, the song proved to be the extent of the group's success, and Eden's Crush soon disbanded.
In 2003, Scherzinger stepped in as the lead singer for the recently recast group the Pussycat Dolls. With their new front-woman, the Dolls soon climbed the charts: The group's first record, PCD, released in 2005, featured hits like "Don't Cha," "Stickwitu" and "Buttons." The album achieved double-platinum status in the United States and sold more than 9 million copies worldwide.
Outside of the group, Scherzinger raised her own profile by performing with a range of other recording artists, including P. Diddy (Sean "Puffy" Combs), Timbaland and 50 Cent.
In 2008, the Pussycat Dolls released a second album, Doll Domination, which featured hits like "When I Grow Up" and "I Hate This Part." While the record failed to match its predecessor's success, it still sold more than 5 million copies.
Not long after the release of the band's second studio album, rumors began to circulate of in-fighting. Those rumors turned out to be true: In 2009, Scherzinger left the Pussycat Dolls. Her career, however, hardly skipped a beat. Her recording of the song, "Jai Ho," for the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire went No. 1 in 17 countries.
Scherzinger also jumped back onto the small screen in 2010, performing as a contestant and eventual series winner on the ABC program Dancing with the Stars. She later took to the stage and starred in the Neal Patrick Harris production of Rent at the Hollywood Bowl.
In 2011, Scherzinger was named as a permanent replacement for Cheryl Cole as a judge on the American version of The X Factor, along with fellow panelists Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and L.A. Reid.
"I'm the luckiest person to get a front-row ticket to the 'Simon and Paula show,'" gushed Scherzinger after being named to the series. The singer, who released Killer Love (her first solo studio album), that same year, added, "My music is the driving engine, and The X Factor is where I can give back to the contestants—pay it forward, since I got my start on reality shows. I'm ready to take it all on."
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