Cheryl Cole Confirms X Factor Return

It’s a rumour that pops up this time every year – but now it’s actually true! Cheryl Cole has confirmed that following years of speculation, she WILL be returning to The X Factor.

The ‘Fight For This Love’ hitmaker, who mentored some of the show’s biggest graduates during her three years of tenure in the late 00s, joins Simon Cowell on the 2014 panel when the show returns later this year.

Posting to Instagram, she shared an old pic of herself as she playfully strangles Simon, with the caption: “GUESS WHAT!!.. I’m baaaacccckkkkk!!!! #iMayActuallyRingHisNeck #XFactor2014 ? #leggooo”

The star won the 2008 run with Alexandra Burke and in 2009 with Joe McElderry, and additionally mentored mega-selling artists Diana Vickers, Rebecca Ferguson and Cher Lloyd.

Simon Cowell joked “be careful what you wish for” after also confirming the big news.

It was rumoured last month that she had been giving her potential comeback some serious consideration, bearing in mind the extremely dramatic way in which she left the franchise in 2011.

Simon persuaded her to ditch the UK version in favour of its US launch – but bosses decided after just hours of filming that she wasn’t working out, and unceremoniously sacked her. She was replaced by Nicole Scherzinger.

A source told The Mirror: “The deal was done over the weekend. Simon is absolutely delighted to have her back on the judging panel. Over the last 18 months, Cheryl and Simon have got back in touch and slowly repaired their relationship. And in January they had dinner with Peter Fincham at Simon’s London house.

“There has been to-ing and fro-ing but the deal was finally done in the last 48 hours. It’s all very last minute but now there’s due to be an announcement, It’s really exciting. Simon is delighted that she is back. With him and her on the panel it’s a dream ticket.”

The other two judges on the 2014 panel are yet to be announced, following the news that last year’s stars Sharon Osbourne, Gary Barlow and Scherzinger are all leaving. Louis Walsh previously declared his intention to step down, but is expected to return anyway.

The fourth seat on the panel is rumoured to be heading to Lionel Richie or Olly Murs, after Cole allegedly demanded to be the only female judge.

Rita Ora was last week rumoured to have turned down a £1 million offer to sign up, and Dannii Minogue has confirmed that she is definitely not coming back just yet.