Battle for X-Factor vacancy set to Spicy between bandmates
00:42 GMT, 1 June 2012
Just days into filming, the new series of the X Factor has become the battle of the Spice Girls. At stake is the chance to join Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos as the fourth judge.
Geri Halliwell joined the panel on the first day of this year’s auditions in Liverpool and was thought to be a shoo-in for the job, until the audience booed her for her long-winded and, at times, self-serving and patronising comments to contestants.
My show insiders now tell me: ‘There’s only the smallest chance she’ll get the job full-time.’
Spice wars: Mel and Geri were big rivals in the band, and now face renewing that competitive clash
But she won’t be judging next week’s auditions in Manchester. Instead, her ambitious former bandmate Mel B, who used to be known as Scary Spice, is to take her place. And I’m told Geri isn’t at all happy about that.
My source adds: ‘Geri feels it is disloyal of Mel B. But Mel has always done what is best for Mel, and that’s why her relationship with the rest of the band is so frosty.’
However, Mel is unlikely to be
allowed to join the series permanently: she’s already signed to appear
as a judge on the Australian version of the X Factor.
Who else is in the frame ITV may now
not announce their final choice — to replace axed Destiny’s Child
singer Kelly Rowland — until after the ‘boot camp’ stage in July.
Competition: Rita Ora also appearing as a guest judge
Instead, they are contemplating continuing to use a rotating selection of female singers including former show winner Leona Lewis, because there is a deep divide about the right choice.
I hear U.S. pop singer Anastacia has been added to Simon Cowell’s shortlist and is likely to be given a trial at a future day of auditions.
She is vying with up-and-coming British singer Rita Ora, who is currently favourite to secure the role permanently. The 21-year-old is described as ‘the British Rihanna’ — but there are questions about her credibility as a mentor for aspiring singers as she has only released one single herself.
The situation is said to be a ‘mess’ by some staff on the show, who are amazed an alternative plan wasn’t prepared in case Dannii Minogue turned down a return to her old job —which she did two weeks ago.
ITV is keen on Lewis Hamilton’s popstar girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, but show boss Cowell doesn’t rate her after a disastrous season as the replacement for Cheryl Cole on the U.S. version of the show.
Anastacia is viewed as a dark horse because of her ‘gutsy attitude’. ‘Simon would like an American back on the panel as well,’ my source adds.
One role, two choices as Moyles gets Herod role
BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles was a surprise choice to play Herod in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new staging of Jesus Christ Superstar — which will also involve an ITV talent show to find the person for the title role.
However, he was not the first choice.
I’m told James Corden, who has just been nominated for a Tony Award for his role in comedy One Man, Two Guvnors on Broadway, was the first celebrity approached to take the part.
But a stage source says: ‘James would have loved to have done it but his schedule simply didn’t allow for it.
He is committed to the play in New York through to September and after that has a new six-part BBC comedy called The Wrong Man to film. Not to mention his wedding to fit in.
‘He had to politely decline.’
Slim picking: Chris Moyles set to appear on stage as Herod after James Corden rejected the role
When tawdry revelations about Simon Cowell’s love life were revealed in a recent biography, his team of advisers insisted its content was strictly unauthorised.
Yet it appears Cowell isn’t too concerned about even more intimate details of his life hitting bookshelves.
A close friend of Cowell reveals author Tom Bower is back within his inner circle, working on the paperback update of Sweet Revenge that’s expected to cover the fallout of the book’s release, including Dannii Minogue’s decision not to return to The X Factor after her fling with Cowell was revealed against her will.
It will also look at behind-the-scenes manoeuvres to get Britney Spears as a judge on the U.S. version of the show. My source says: ‘Tom is back with Simon. He believes the paperback of the book could be just as dramatic, Simon is quite fond of him.’
Zany twins Jedward finished in 19th place for Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest — and it’s been blamed on their new hairstyles.
Last year the twins (John and Edward Grimes) were eighth.
My Eurovision source says: ‘There was a disagreement over how they should wear their hair. Their manager Louis Walsh wanted it spiked up as usual, but their mum wanted it down. She got her way, but it harmed their votes.’
Nothing to do with the song or off-key vocals then . . .
Fallout: Disagreements were raised over the duo's appearance ahead of the competition
Rising star Morgana Robinson has been a revelation on the critically acclaimed impressions show Very Important People which ends a six-part run tonight.
Now Channel 4 is in talks with the former waitress about headlining her own sitcom.
The channel’s head of comedy Shane Allen has started to work on concepts with her creative partner Matt Morgan.
Morgana tells me: ‘Impressions are quite restrictive. I would love to do a second series of VIP. ‘But we’re thinking about sitcom ideas right now. I’d like to have a go at some drama, too.’
Just weeks ago it was heralded as the BBC’s biggest show of the decade, but failed 25 million talent show The Voice is likely to go out with a whimper tomorrow.
Early auditions hit ratings of 12 million, but now they will be lucky to get half that after the semi-final attracted fewer than five million.
The Beeb is committed to a second series in its deal with Dutch TV king John de Mol, but producers fear dropping ratings will make it harder to attract talented singers next year. ‘They’ll go to The X Factor instead,’ one insider frets.
A spokesman said: ‘The Voice is the BBC’s highest rating Saturday night launch in over a decade. We look forward to working with de Mol’s team to make the next series even better.’