NICOLE Scherzinger has been axed from The X Factor — and Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh are also unlikely to return.
Simon Cowell has been secretly plotting a massive overhaul of the ITV talent show as it enters its 15th year, The Sun can reveal.
Original judges Louis and Sharon, both now 65, have contracts to return this year. But show bosses are looking at terminating these to inject fresh blood. Pop heart-throb Craig David and One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson are in talks to become the new male judge.
Ex-judge Cheryl Tweedy, BGT panellist Alesha Dixon, Kylie Minogue and Mariah Carey are in contention to replace Nicole. An X Factor insider said: “Louis and Sharon are both contracted to return this year, but Simon and the producers have lost faith. They were both terrible on the panel last year. Louis has had a great run, but he’s advertising hearing aids for God’s sake. It’s beyond a joke.
“And Sharon couldn’t even remember some of her own contestants’ names.
“Nicole was a passionate judge but has no contract and won’t be back this year in order to bring in fresh blood.”
1D Louis deserves a shot
By DAN WOOTTON, Executive Editor
WHEN Louis Walsh fronted a campaign for hearing aids he surely knew his time as an X Factor Judge was over.
After all, viewers have been questioning what exactly he’s been hearing the contestants sing on screen for long enough.
Louis is a true music legend, but the chemistry with Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne that made X Factor such a big hit for so many years is now over. Cowell has another Louis waiting in the wings to take over – Mr Tomlinson from One Direction.
He’s got the youth and renegade personality needed to bring some passion back to the show. I love Mrs O too but to do X Factor properly, you’ve got to be in the country to mentor your contestants.
Nicole Scherzinger has been an entertaining judge but can now focus on bringing the Pussycat Dolls back together.
Louis has been fired from the show twice, only for close pal Cowell to reverse the ruling.But his decision to take part in a Specsavers drive highlighting his hearing loss has been seen as a bridge too far.
Our show source said: “Louis and Simon remain great friends and it’s not a simple decision to let him go. But serious eyebrows were raised when Louis went public with his hearing loss in a Specsavers campaign about hearing aids.
“It obviously raises the question about whether he’s a suitable judge for a show that aims to find young pop stars.”
Meanwhile Sharon was left exhausted last year by weekly transatlantic flights between London and LA, where she is a panellist on a talk show.
The source said: “Sharon’s X Factor royalty. But there are big question marks on whether she has the commitment required, especially when it comes to working with her contestants.”
Last night a show source confirmed: “There are no plans for Nicole to return to The X Factor this year. Other announcements about the judging line-up will be made in due course.
“It is possible either Sharon or Louis could still return because both have contracts.”
Top stars who may join the panel
FILL Me In singer Craig David is seen as a strong contender to join the panel after a career renaissance over the past three years.
He could meet Simon Cowell in Hollywood, where he is working on America’s Got Talent, within weeks.
Another favourite among bosses is 1D’s Louis Tomlinson, who nearly became a judge two years ago.
A source said: “Louis has really matured and gained public respect for how he dealt with losing his mum.”
Alesha Dixon could swap from Britain’s Got Talent, while Cheryl Tweedy has been in comeback talks.
But that could be complicated as she’s already committed to Cowell’s BBC series The Greatest Dancer.
Kylie Minogue has also been approached and Mariah Carey has long been a favourite to join the show, but may be too expensive.