X Factor 2016: Judging line-up confirmed!

(Image credit: Dymond/Syco/Thames/Corbis)

After months of speculation, the judging panel for this year's X Factor has finally been revealed.

Rock royalty Sharon Osbourne, former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and music manager Louis Walsh will all be returning to sit alongside music mogul Simon Cowell on the panel when the talent show returns to ITV in the autumn.

And they're not the only familiar faces to be making a comeback as, after taking a break last year, Dermot O'Leary will be returning as host.

In addition, fans of the show will be pleased to know that the legendary room auditions have also been brought back.

The judges' auditions will begin on Friday June 10 at the King Power Stadium, home of the Premier League Champions, Leicester City.

Known for her straight-talking - and for once throwing water over Louis Walsh - Sharon was one of the original X Factor judges, appearing on the panel from 2004 to 2007 and then again in 2013. Sharon also has more than 30 years experience in the music industry, managing some of the biggest bands in rock.

Speaking of her return, Sharon said: “I’m overjoyed about going back to The X Factor, sitting with Lou, Lou, gorgeous Nicole and naughty Simon. But, most of all, I can’t wait to meet baby Eric.”

Nicole was a hugely popular judge on The X Factor in 2012 and 2013, securing victory in her first series with James Arthur and proving a huge hit with viewers for her 'shamazing' approach. As a singer, Nicole has sold millions of records both as one of The Pussycat Dolls, then as a solo artist.

Nicole said: "I can't wait to be back in the UK and on the show with the best judges sitting alongside me on the panel. 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.”

Meanwhile, Louis returns for a record-breaking 12th series as a UK X Factor judge. 

Talking about his comeback, Louis cheekily said: “He’d say otherwise but I knew Simon missed me last year! I’m delighted to be back on the panel especially beside my two favourite female judges Sharon and Nicole, and I’m looking forward to taking them all back to Dublin this year when we head there for auditions.”

Talking about the new series, Simon warned: "Be careful what you wish for!"

The X Factor will return to ITV later this year alongside sister show, The Xtra Factor on ITV2.

Fans of the show can follow all the action via @TheXFactor on Twitter and Instagram and on Facebook.com/TheXFactor.

Victoria Wilson
Feature Writer for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and WhatToWatch.com

With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!