Cheryl Cole’s return as an X Factor judge could be confirmed as early as this week, according to ITV sources.
It is understood that the Girls Aloud singer held talks with new Dad Simon Cowell last week when her return was agreed informally.
Another source told the Mirror today that her “return is now 99 per cent concluded”.
Cole last appeared on the UK version of the show three years ago, but her estrangement from the franchise appeared to have been sealed in 2011 when she suffered the humiliation of being sacked from the US X Factor after three weeks.
However a vacancy on the judging panel has emerged following reports of ex-Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger’s decision to quit to concentrate on her music.
Cole gave the biggest hint that she was returning two weeks ago.
Cowell, who held the talks with Cole despite the pressures of his new found parenthood, has long been hinting of his wish for a return to the days of the Cowell/Cole days, recently saying: “I want to go back to where we left off in 2010… if we do another year like that it’ll be amazing.”
Cowell has said that the singer has her “poker face on”.
“It’s about whether she wants to do it and whether she can handle the pressure, so I’m not quite sure yet,” he has also said in what some industry sources have interpreted as deliberately cheeky and provocative challenge to Cole to throw in her lot with the show.
According to some bookmakers, Cowell is also going to call up singer Rita Ora, creating a potential line up of himself, Cole and Louis Walsh for the next series.