Kelly Rowland not returning to the judging panel for X Factor… with Katy Perry in the frame to replace her
00:05 GMT, 27 April 2012
She may not be Beyonc.
But when Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland joined the X Factor, Simon Cowell hoped she would be the perfect replacement for Cheryl Cole.
But with just two weeks to go before filming starts, the 31-year-old singer is ‘unlikely’ to return to the ITV talent hit, show sources confirmed last night.
And in a mad dash to replace her, Cowell, 52, and ITV chiefs have been in talks with pop princess Katy Perry and a string of other stars.
In with the new, out with the old: Kelly Rowland in unlikely to return to the new series of X Factor, with Katy Perry – who was a guest judge in 2010 (right) – tipped to replace her
Miss Perry, who has had a string of worldwide hits, is a firm favourite of Cowell’s – but is unable to take a full-time judging role on the X Factor due to work commitments.
However, she is expected to take a role on the show – and may be a guest judge at auditions.
Last night, a source told the Mail that Miss Rowland was '95 per cent' unlikely to return to the X Factor, saying: 'Kelly was great in the auditions, but when she joined the live shows it just seemed that she didn’t really relax and enjoy herself.
'And to be honest, she wasn’t that popular with viewers.
Mixed reviews: Kelly impressed producers in the initial auditions with (L-R) Louis Walsh,Tulisa Contostavlos and Gary Barlow
'Hopefully, Katy Perry will have some kind of role on the series.’
Miss Perry, 27, who recently divorced British comedian Russell Brand, has often performed on the X Factor, and in 2010 she filled in for Dannii Minogue at auditions when the star was on maternity leave with her son Ethan.
Miss Rowland was one of three new judges to join the X Factor last year, alongside Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos.
They stepped in after Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole quit – and Cowell left to concentrate on launching the X Factor USA.
But her appearance was not without controversy.
Who's coming back to England Kelly in Sydney on Tuesday (left) and Katy at the Coachella Festival last weekend
She threw the series into chaos missing two live shows following a row with co-star Tulisa.
The singer had flown to Los Angeles for work after the fallout – but then said she was unable to fly back to the UK after contracting a ‘rare’ viral throat infection that had left her unable to speak.
She was left furious after feisty Miss Contostavlos accused one of her hopefuls, Misha Bryan, of being mean to her own wannabes behind the scenes.
Fellow judge Louis Walsh then waded into the row by calling Misha a 'bully' – but was later forced to apologise to viewers.
Last week, it was reported that Miss Rowland had demanded 1.5million to return to the show after show bosses re-signed Mr Barlow on a 2million deal.
Prior experience: Katy stepped in for Dannii Minogue alongside Louis and former judges Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell at the Dublin auditions in June 2010
ITV were quick to sign the Take That star after it was revealed that Cowell had wanted to axe him because he was ‘too scripted’ during last year’s series.
Miss Rowland was on a reputed 500,000 deal last year – and had wanted to treble her salary.
However, producers Thames TV and Syco insisted they would not be ‘bounced’ into offering her a ‘truckload of money’.
One source said: ‘We never negotiate a deal based on what another member of the show is getting as that would be ludicrous,’ adding: ‘We left things to the last minute last time and there’s no reason why we couldn’t do it again.’
Although Mr Barlow is the only X Factor judge to have officially signed his deal, Miss Contostavlos and Mr Walsh are ‘days away’ from signing their contracts.
Auditions start in Cardiff on May 15 and a source said: ‘Kelly is 95 per cent not coming back.’
Last night, a show spokesman said: ‘The panel has not been finalised yet.'