Leona Lewis steps in as temporary X Factor judge after talks with Danni fall through
X FACTOR winner Leona Lewis is being lined up for a role as a guest judge on the ITV1 entertainment show.
She is in talks to step in over the coming days while show bosses work on a permanent replacement for Kelly Rowland. Talks to engineer a return for Dannii Minogue fell through last week.
Lewis won the competition in 2006 and has become a global star since finding fame on the show, with three UK number ones.
The 27-year-old would follow Geri Halliwell as a guest for this year's show, with the former Spice Girl appearing at the Liverpool audition this week.
Also said to be in the running for a temporary spot on the panel is chart-topper Rita Ora, currently at number one with her single R.I.P.
Halliwell's former Spice Girls bandmate Mel B is also taking a turn on the panel, alongside regulars Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos.
Rowland announced last month she would not be returning to the panel after taking part in the 2011 series.
Halliwell dazzled the crowds outside the Echo Arena in Liverpool yesterday by arriving in a blue lace mini-dress with high-heeled ankle boots. And to ensure she had their attention, she clambered on to the roof of a car and addressed fans through a loudhailer.
It comes as Dannii Minogue confirmed she will not be returning to the X Factor.
Talks with the former panellist about a possible comeback have ended, less than a week before the audition process begins.
Show bosses have confirmed she will not be returning to the show, and guest judges are being lined up to step in for the early stages of the contest.
Minogue was in negotiations to reprise her role on the show after last year's panellist Kelly Rowland ruled herself out.
The Australian entertained the idea of a return despite disclosures that she and show boss Simon Cowell had an affair, which came to light last month. But discussions have now foundered.
Cowell's decision to “kiss and tell” over the relationship was publically humiliating for Minogue.
He disclosed details of his affair with the Marks & Spencer model during his conversations with Tom Bower, who has published unflattering biographies of Gordon Brown and Sir Richard Branson.
Following the revelations Cowell admitted he hadn't been able speak to Minogue but said: "She’s fine, I think, and, hopefully, we’re okay.”
The 52-year-old television personality insists that he was right to co-operate with Bower. “I said to Tom right from the beginning, 'I’m not going to lie to you’, and that was the deal. Not to say, it hasn’t all been a bit embarrassing.”
It is understood guest judges were already being considered as Minogue would only have been able to attend two of the auditions. But show bosses still want to agree a deal with a judge in the coming days, to join Tulisa Contostavlos, Gary Barlow and Louis Walsh.
An X Factor spokeswoman said: ''The panel will be confirmed shortly.''
Dermot O'Leary has been announced as host for the forthcoming series, which will come back to ITV1 later this year. It will be his sixth series.