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Louis Walsh says Mel B is likely to be 'X Factor' U.K. judge in 2014

Photo at left: Louis Walsh. Photo at right: Mel B.
Photo at left: Louis Walsh. Photo at right: Mel B.
Getty Images

"The X Factor" U.K. judge Louis Walsh has confirmed reports that he will remain a judge on the show in 2014. In an interview published by The Sun on May 10, 2014, Walsh also confirmed that Mel B is likely to replace Nicole Scherzinger as a judge on "The X Factor" U.K.

Walsh has been an "X Factor" judge since the show's 2004 debut. He told The Sun about renewing his "X Factor" contract in 2014: “It is all sorted. I am coming back. I just have to sign the contract.” Walsh is a music manager whose clients include former "X Factor" U.K. duo Jedward. His former clients include Westlife, Boyzone, Shayne Ward and Girls Aloud.

Mel B (also known as Scary Spice from the Spice Girls) was a judge on "The X Factor" Australia in 2011 and 2012. She was a guest judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012. In 2013, she became a judge on "America's Got Talent," another TV show created by Simon Cowell.

In April 2014, Cowell revealed that Scherzinger's exit from "The X Factor" U.K. was not voluntary on her part. In an interview with The Sun, Cowell essentially said that Scherzinger was forced out of or fired from the show because he did not want her and Cheryl Cole on the same judging panel.

"I didn’t think the two of them would work well together," Cowell said.

Scherzinger has not yet made an official comment about her "X Factor" exit.

On March 10, 2014, Cole and Cowell confirmed reports that Cole has returned to "The X Factor" U.K. judging panel in 2014. On her Instagram account, she posted a photo of herself with her hands around Simon Cowell's neck, with this accompanying message: "GUESS WHAT!!.. I'm baaaacccckkkkk!!!! #iMayActuallyRingHisNeck #XFactor2014 #leggooo."

Cowell tweeted on March 10, 2014: “It’s official! Cheryl is back. Be careful what you wish for.”

According to the Daily Mirror, Cole signed a one-season deal to return to "The X Factor" U.K. for £1.5 million (which is $2.5 million in U.S. dollars.) An unnamed source told the Daily Mirror: “It’s really exciting. Simon is delighted that she is back. With him and her on the panel it’s a dream ticket. Simon was always very sad about the way things turned out over there and especially the way his relationship disintegrated. Slowly but surely they got things on an even keel and now they are stronger than ever. It was destiny they would be working together again.”

On Feb. 7, 2014, the same day it was announced that "The X Factor" U.S. was cancelled, Cowell announced that he is returning to "The X Factor" U.K. judging panel in 2014. He is replacing Gary Barlow, who was a judge on the show from 2011 to 2013. Barlow quit "The X Factor" U.K. because he said he wanted to focus on his music career, which includes a new album and tour from his singing group Take That.

Cowell confirmed in February 2014 that Scherzinger (who became a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012) has left the show.

Even though he didn't officially confirm it yet, Cowell basically told The Sun that Walsh will continue with the show: "I’d find it difficult to do the show without Louis. I tried it without him once and it didn't work. He does make a long day fun. I hope I don't have to talk ITV 'round. After 10 years, he deserves a spot."

Cole has replaced Sharon Osbourne, who returned to the show in 2013, which she said was her last year on the show. Osbourne was originally a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. from 2004 to 2007. In 2008, Osbourne was replaced by Cole.

Cowell (who was originally a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. from 2004 to 2010) and Cole (who was a judge on the show from 2008 to 2010) left "The X Factor" U.K. judging panel to become judges on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011. Cole was notoriously fired from "The X Factor" U.S. after just a few weeks on the job. She then said in several interviews, on Twitter, and in her 2012 memoir "Cheryl: My Story" that she never wanted to work with Cowell again because of the way he treated her during the firing. But now it's clear that Cole has some self-esteem problems since she has gone back to work for Cowell, whom she has described many times as a disrespectful and manipulative boss.

It's also obvious why Cowell does not want Cole and Scherzinger to work together again. After Cole was fired from "The X Factor" U.S., Scherzinger successfully lobbied to replace Cole on the show. (Scherzinger was originally hired as a co-host of "The X Factor" U.S.) And in her "Cheryl" memoir, Cole described Scherzinger as strange and phony in the brief time that they worked together.

Scherzinger (along with judge Paula Abdul and host Steve Jones) was fired from "The X Factor" U.S. after the show's first season. And even though Scherzinger was more popular on "The X Factor" U.K. than she was on "The X Factor" U.S.," it seems that Cowell and company have ousted her yet again from "The X Factor."

As of who will replace Scherzinger on "The X Factor" U.K., several artists have been rumored to be in talks for the position, including Olly Murs and Fergie.

Cowell is now saying that Mel B (also known as Scary Spice from the Spice Girls) is one of his top choices. He told The Sun: "I like Mel B. We’ve got about a month to decide and we’re meeting a lot of people. A lot of it actually depends on how much work they are willing to put in during the week."

Since Mel B has already signed on to remain as a judge on "America's Got Talent" in 2014, it will be interesting to see if she can handle being on "The X Factor" U.K. in the same year, since both shows have work schedules that overlap, and being a judge on both shows would require her to travel back and forth between the U.S. and the U.K. several times within a week for several weeks.

Several British tabloids, including the Daily Mirror, have reported that Rita Ora rejected an offer to become a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2013 and 2014.

In 2013, Cole settled a $2.3 million lawsuit that she filed in 2012 against "The X Factor" U.S. for non-payment of salary. Cole's "X Factor" U.S. contract stated that she was to be paid for two seasons, even if she got fired. Cole claimed in the lawsuit that she was only paid for one season. Terms of the the settlement were not disclosed to the public.

Based on comments made by "X Factor" viewers on the Internet, most viewers prefer Scherzinger over Cole. Even with Cowell becoming a judge again "The X Factor" U.K., few people believe that the show's ratings will go back to the height that "The X Factor" U.K. had from 2008 to 2010, when Cowell and Cole were previously judges on the show together.

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