Paula Abdul -- I Was Traveling When Cheryl Got Let Go

5/28/2011 1:30 PM PDT
Time zones and air travel combined to leave Paula Abdul out of the loop -- because when she arrived in Singapore to promote "The X Factor" ... she had no idea what was going on with Cheryl Cole.

Paula seemed to have just heard the news when she took the stage earlier this week to face reporters. When asked about Cheryl leaving the show, Paula responded, "This apparently has captured the news while I was traveling so I'm just finding out things as you are ... You probably know more than I do."

As TMZ first reported, Cole was replaced as a judge on the show by Nicole Scherzinger ... because producers feared Cole's British accent would be unintelligible to American viewers.