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X Factor: Sharon, Louis, Gary, Nicole - Are you happy with the panel?

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There are secrets. There are embargoes. There are things nobody is supposed to know. And then there is Louis Walsh.

This year's X Factor judging panel lineup has been kept firmly under wraps over recent months, but cheeky scamp Louis let the cat out of the bag this week. He spilled the beans on the final lineup in an interview to promote some god awful boyband project that he's plotting.

Gary Barlow
Louis Walsh

© Rex Features / Ken McKay

Louis Walsh pulls a trademark comical expression


The X Factor Final: Nicole.

© Ken McKay/Thames/Rex Features

Sharon Osbourne at the National Radio Conference, Sydney - October 12, 2012

© Rex Features / John Appleyard/Newspix



According to Louis, the 2013 panel will feature himself (obviously), Gary Barlow, Walsh's old mucka Sharon Osbourne and (probably) Nicole Scherzinger.

Walsh's blathering appears to confirm the endless Osbourne rumours and backs up sources that say Barlow wants in for a third series. Tulisa announced that she was quitting today (The Female Boss is heading down the Job Centre) and Scherzinger was the saving grace of the last series, so unless there are some serious contract/timing issues, the former Pussycat Doll will surely be back. Jahmazing.

After an underwhelming series nine, it would have been easy for ITV and Simon Cowell to wipe off the 2012 panel and start afresh. New faces make new dynamics and, at the early audition rounds at least, are a good bet to boost ratings.

Heading into series 10, the show feels like it's on its final stretch. We're all tired of the 'outrage' and 'scandal' during the Live Shows. We're bored of seeing acts clogging up our lives for a whole six months only to disappear into showbiz oblivion. We're bored of the show's slow morph into a Simon Cowell production factory rather than a light bit of Saturday night froth.

The X Factor 2012 - Judges houses 1: Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne

© ITV / Thames/Syco



Cowell has always maintained that he will pull the plug on X Factor before it becomes stale. Some might argue he's already broken that vow. However, if he is a man of his word, a showstopping 10th series would be a brilliant way to bow out.

Cowell has shown loyalty and faith in Walsh and Barlow to deliver the goods. And the producers are presumably banking on the return of Osbourne providing the necessary fireworks to reignite the series.

Osbourne fighting with Barlow. Osbourne fighting with Scherzinger. Osbourne cackling like a witch with Louis. Osbourne fighting with everyone. The headlines are already written. However, one big question is hanging over the show. Does anyone still care?

What do you think of this year's lineup? Will the show miss Tulisa? Let us know below!

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