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Thursday 23rd November 2017

X Factor judges confirmed for 2018

The dotted line has already been signed on...

We usually have months of speculation as to who will be on The X Factor judging panel, but before this year's show has even got to the live stages, it looks like a decision for 2018 has already been made.

Louis Walsh has confirmed he and Sharon Osbourne have already signed up for next year.

Louis and Sharon are coming back next year (Credit: Wenn)

Speaking to The Mirror about retiring, Louis said: "I'll give up when she [Sharon] does. I love it, it's not like work. This is not like work, it's great fun.

"I'm getting paid to do something I love. I'm signed for next year already, so is Sharon. Let's see about Nicole."

This adds fuel to the rumour mill that Cheryl Tweedy is set for a permanent return to the ITV show next year.

Louis backs Nicole, but who does Simon want? (Credit: ITV)

Talking about who he would like to see replace Nicole, Louis explained:

I'm signed for next year already, so is Sharon.

"I would bring in Mel B, I love her, she's a survivor.

"I love Nicole a little bit more. Nicole is my favourite female judge ever, she brings so much. I adore her, I love her more than she loves me.

"Seriously, she's just the best, she's amazing."

But the decision isn't Louis' and Cheryl's other half Liam Payne has today told The Sun that Simon has already spoken to Cheryl about next year.

Cheryl will appear as Simon's guest judge in upcoming episodes (Credit: ITV)

“Cheryl and Simon spoke about her going back next year," he told The Sun.

"Obviously, Simon is desperate to get her back. Cheryl and Simon have such a lovely relationship."

If Cheryl does make a return to the judging panel, it'll mean being away from home – and Bear – a lot. But Liam insisted that he wouldn't mind.

“She’s got to do what she’s got to do," said the One Direction singer, 24, who himself rose to stardom on the singing show. "Honestly, she’s been so supportive of everything I’ve done so far.

Read more: Cheryl explains why she called her baby Bear after Simon slates her

“We’re all edging for her to get back to work, it’s just finding the right time and the right way to do things."

Of course, Cheryl getting her old job back will mean one of the current panel – Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne or Nicole Scherzinger – having to make way.

Someone on the current panel would have to make way (Credit: ITV)

That's not likely to go down well, especially since the chemistry between them has been pretty good over the past couple of years.

But as we all know, Simon's not shy when it comes to giving people the boot.

Liam himself rose to fame on The X Factor (Credit: ITV)

Tulisa, Caroline Flack and even Mr X Factor himself, Dermot O'Leary, can all vouch for that (though, of course, Dermy was soon welcomed back).

Cheryl may be flavour of the month with Simon Cowell, but one person who doesn't appear to be a fan of the Geordie star is Bruno Tonioli.

Read more: Cheryl and Liam reportedly fuming as someone dares say NO to them

Earlier this week, the outspoken Strictly judge appeared on Celebrity Juice, where he was tasked with guessing which star Keith Lemon was impersonating.

Bruno spat: "Who's that [expletive, expletive]? Oh God, Cheryl Cole?" (It was actually Holly Willoughby, but that's unlikely to be of any comfort for poor Cheryl.

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