No expense spared for Cheryl Cole

LONDON: Cheryl Cole's record label are throwing more money into her solo album than they ever have at Girls Aloud - proving they believe she's got global superstar potential.

First they funded her to record in Los Angeles with top producers. The girls usually record in, er, Kent.

Now I've discovered they have paid a fortune to hire controversial fashion photographer Nick Knight to oversee Cheryl's look.

I hope the other girls aren't jealous.

Nick has shot Kate Moss over 30 times, won loads of awards for his Vogue front covers and wouldn't get out of bed for less than £100k a day.

It's the equivalent of getting artist Damien Hirst to paint your house.

His day job is creating high-end images for major firms such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Christian Dior and Calvin Klein.

Nick also shot Victoria Beckham for the cover of Vogue last year.

He is a contentious character in the fashion world. He campaigned to use larger models and has done lots of striking naked shots.

When he does album covers - which is rare - it is only for major stars. He has worked with David Bowie, Massive Attack and Bjork.

Nick sounds a bit of an eccentric. He is known for wearing the same outfit every time he goes to work.

He and Cheryl did the shoot for Polydor in secret. And Nick claims Cheryl struggled with the work.

He said: "Although Cheryl is photographed all the time by the paparazzi, she is not in front of the camera in the way professional models are - she is less used to the process. Cheryl was great to work with, though. She is incredibly beautiful - it is just a different kind of shoot with an experienced model."

Cheryl's latest cherry red hairdo is part of her new solo image.

The as-yet-untitled album will be out in October when she'll be at the height of her X Factor fame. It's going to be impossible to avoid her.

Meanwhile, I hear JLS have pinched her producer.

The X Factor runners-up have hired Danish knob-twiddler Soulshock to help finish off their album, hoping he can help them to crack America.

They might sound good but they'll never look as good as her. . .