Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and music manager Louis Walsh will return to the judges panel of the British version of The X Factor, joining creator Simon Cowell in an attempt to improve the show’s ratings for ITV.
They replace Rita Ora, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Nick Grimshaw, who sat on the panel last season when the series drew its lowest-ever season-finale overnight ratings despite performances by Adele, One Direction and Coldplay. The U.K. show’s past winners include One Direction, Leona Lewis and Olly Murs.
The upcoming 13th season in the U.K. also will see the return of Dermot O’Leary as host after an experiment with two hosts last season, one of them Murs. “In addition, one of the fans’ favorite aspects of the show has been revived, the legendary room auditions,” ITV, Cowell’s Syco and production firm Thames said Wednesday in a statement.
The auditions will begin June 10 at King Power Stadium, the home of just-crowned English Premier League soccer champions Leicester City.
Osbourne was one of the original X Factor judges in Britain from 2004 to 2007 and then again in 2013. “I’m overjoyed about going back to The X Factor, sitting with Lou Lou, gorgeous Nicole and naughty Simon,” she said. “But most of all, I can’t wait to meet [Cowell’s] baby Eric.”
Former Pussycat Dolls star Scherzinger was a judge on the show in 2012 and 2013. “I can’t wait to be back in the U.K. and on the show with the best judges sitting alongside me on the panel,” she said. “I’m excited about discovering, mentoring and winning with an exciting new act this year. And having had winning contestants in the past, Simon knows I will do it.”
Walsh will return for his 12th season on the show after being away from the panel last year.
“Simon, Sharon, Louis and Nicole — they’re a formidable judging panel by anyone’s standards,” said ITV director of television Kevin Lygo. “With Dermot hosting and the return of the audition rooms, there’s a lot to look forward to this [season], as we welcome back one of our biggest entertainment brands.”