In Depth

X-Factor: can Cheryl Cole save Simon Cowell's talent show?

Simon Cowell is hoping on-screen chemistry with singer will 'knock Strictly Come Dancing off the top'

Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole

SIMON COWELL has confirmed that Cheryl Cole will be returning to The X Factor as a judge later this year in what is being described as a "last-ditch attempt to boost flagging ratings".

The pair have "rebuilt their relationship" after Cowell fired her from the US version of the show in 2011 amid claims that Americans could not understand her Newcastle accent, reports The Sun.

The singer is rumoured to have signed a deal for £1.5m for just one series. So far Cowell and Cole are the only judges to have been confirmed for the 2014 show.

Cowell announced Cole's return on Twitter, telling his 9.5 million followers: "It's official. Cheryl is back." Minutes later, he added another post saying: "Most importantly she is a brilliant judge of talent."

It's official. Cheryl is back.

 

— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) March 10, 2014

Cole also posted on her Instagram account, telling fans about her return to the talent show, along with a picture of her pretending to throttle her new boss. Cowell has already announced that he will return to the British version of The X Factor himself for the first time in four years in a bid to boost ratings.

But The Sun's Dan Wootton says Cole's return is Cowell's "ultimate career coup" and their on-screen chemistry will be a "big factor in his bid to knock Strictly Come Dancing off the top".

The X Factor was trounced in the ratings several times last year, after BBC One's dancing contest led the Saturday-night viewing figures.

"[Cowell] knew he needed the nation's sweetheart beside him to have any hope of making X Factor TV's No1 show again," says Wootton.

ITV bosses will certainly be hoping that the return of the pair to the judging panel will revive "a lacklustre few years of viewing figures", says Jenn Selby in The Independent.

This is Cowell's "last-ditch attempt to boost flagging ratings", she says, noting that only 11.5 million people tuned in to watch Sam Bailey win The X Factor in December 2013, compared to the 17.7 million who turned in to see the final during Cole's last run in 2010.

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