X Factor insiders claim that despite the singer's announcement that she was quitting the show, they were keen on signing former judge Dannii Minogue for the next series.
> Kelly Rowland exits 'The X Factor': Who should replace her? Poll
Previous reports suggested that producers withdrew their offer for Rowland to return after the star allegedly demanded £1.5 million to return to the programme.
Sources close to Rowland told The Mirror that the singer maintains it was her decision "not to sign" a contract to return as judge on the ITV1 reality singing competition.
"She has emails going back months showing discussions, so it is stupid of them to say they didn't want her or she was being greedy," one insider claimed. "Simon Cowell has gone on record saying he wanted Kelly back.
> Simon Cowell: 'All four X Factor judges should come back'
"She loved doing the show so feels a bit let down. She feels stitched up now and it just looks like they are panicking because they don't have a judge."
Rowland described her time as an X Factor judge as "an incredible experience I'll never forget".
Some close to the former Destiny's Child star say she is gearing up to pursue more projects in the US, including a foray into film and a new studio album.
The search is still on for a fourth judge to join Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Louis Walsh.
Executives currently have a deadline of May 23 to find a replacement, when the first auditions in front of judges are scheduled to take place in Liverpool.
Watch Dermot O'Leary talking to Digital Spy about Kelly Rowland below: