One appearance on TV talent show Popstars: The Rivals changed all that.
So not surprisingly the Girls Aloud singer was the only person on the X Factor judging panel, who really understood when one of contestants fluffed her big moment during the auditions.
Amie Buck – also a Geordie lass – was brought to the edges of tears when Simon Cowell said: "Heard enough" as she sung Alicia Keys' Fallin' and advised her to pick a song more suited to her voice.
On hearing this, Amie explained she nearly picked a Girls Aloud track, and was offered a rare second chance to begin again.
Still emotional, she launched into a performance of I'll Stand By You, a song covered by the popular girl band in 2004.
Unfortunately she soon forgot the words – which was when Cheryl got up on stage to join her on the chorus while holding her hand and elicited a huge roar of approval from the audience.
It did the trick and the judges' initial sceptism was converted into four 'Yeses', meaning the pretty Northerner goes through to the next stage.