Simon Cowell fires Tulisa in dramatic X Factor shake up
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Originally feisty Tulisa Contostavlos shook up The X Factor when she joined in 2011 following Cheryl Cole’s departure.
But last year viewing figures dipped by two million and Simon Cowell’s singing talent show was regularly beaten to the top spot by BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
This had meant that the music mogul has had to make some serious decisions about how to reclaim its Saturday night TV crown, following last year’s criticism that the show was dull.
As part of a dramatic X Factor shake up, the 53-year-old has axed Tulisa from the judging panel.
But according to sources he is fighting “tooth and nail” to keep his pal Louis Walsh on the show, despite ITV bosses wanting the 60-year-old X Factor veteran to be given the boot too.
Simon is said to have dug in his heels to save Louis, with an insider explaining exclusively to The Sun: “It hasn’t reached the shouting stage yet — but if it does, Simon is prepared for the fight.”
ITV is keen to keep Gary Barlow on the panel — even though Cowell sees him as “boring” and would rather he goes than Louis.
Bizarrely Tulisa hasn’t officially been told the bombshell that she won’t return for the tenth series, but sources told The Sun that she will find out “within weeks.”
They added: “Tulisa has been on the panel for two years. She had a good run, but all good things come to an end.”
The news will surely come as a blow to former N-Dubz singer, who has not had the best time of late after her album bombed.
An insider said: “Quite apart from her performance on last year’s show, you can’t have a singer whose album only reached No35 in the charts sitting in judgment on other singers.
There’s been pressure from ITV for Simon to reboot the show following the ratings slide and it seems that TV bosses want a more successful pop singer to take Tulisa’s spot.
Allegedly Simon has his eye on Rita Ora - who was a temporary judge last year - to join the X Factor, but she’s reluctant as the 22-year-old wants to concentrate on her music career.
Meanwhile other names that have been linked to “the new X Factor” include former X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne, ex-Spice Girl Mel B, while Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger is said to be signing a new deal.
Last night a spokesman for the show insisted: “No formal decisions have been made on the panel for 2013’s X Factor as yet.”