Looks like The X Factor judging panel will be getting a shake up in 2018!

Cheryl Cole last worked as a judge on The X Factor in 2015, mentoring group Reggie ’N’ Bollie to the final.

But Now can exclusively reveal that Cheryl wants her seat back – permanently – and perhaps surprisingly, Nicole Scherzinger is prepared to step aside.


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After accompanying Simon Cowell at his judges’ houses in the south of France, it seems Cheryl, 34, has caught the mentoring bug again, despite quitting previously to focus on her music career.

And although Nicole is known to be a firm favourite among viewers of the ITV singing competition, Now understands the 39-year-old has decided that she isn’t willing to take part in the games Simon, 58, likes to play with his harem of famous female friends.


Photo by Dymond/Thames/Syco/REX/Shutterstock (9120811a) Simon Cowell and Cheryl

‘Nicole works on The X Factor because she genuinely enjoys mentoring contestants and helping them create long-standing careers in the entertainment industry,’ a well-placed source tells us.

‘Her friendships with former stars James Arthur and Rylan Clark-Neal are testament to this. In Nicole’s opinion, Cheryl needs this gig to relaunch her music career, whereas she refuses to use the show as a PR stunt – she’s worked too hard to compromise her integrity.’

We’re told that the feeling among the judges – Nicole, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh – is that dad-of-one Simon likes to play his very own version of the six-chair challenge with the four judges’ seats, and the Pussycat Doll will not entertain him.

Our insider adds, ‘At the end of the day, Nicole doesn’t feel she has anything to prove. She and Cheryl are very different people and Nicole is already considering taking a break from The X Factor next year to release a new album.’

‘If she does, there will be a space on the panel and Nicole wouldn’t care if Simon filled it with Cheryl or Sinitta!’