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X Factor shock: Louis Walsh returning as a judge

ShowbizBy Sunday World
Shocker: Louis Walsh is on his way back to X Factor
Shocker: Louis Walsh is on his way back to X Factor

Louis Walsh is returning to 'The X Factor' as a fifth judge.

The Irish music manager will return to the show's judging panel following panic over falling ratings.

Louis, 63, is expected to join the live shows later this year as an impartial fifth judge, offering his opinions on the other judges' acts.

Louis' second comeback - following his firing and re-hiring in 2007 - is said to have been spurred by disappointment in BBC Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw's work on the show thus far.

A source said: "He will be a neutral fifth judge who will sit in a special place away from the others to provide unbiased comments on the contestants."

DJ Nick, who joined the panel this year with Rita Ora, has been described as "dull and uninspired" on the show and has even been blamed for the singing competition's ratings decline.

Another insider said: "It's all been too nice during the auditions this year. Grimmy is popular backstage but viewers think he's boring."

Meanwhile, the live shows will see yet another big change with the judges - including Simon Cowell and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini - scoring the contestants on their singing and charisma.

The source told The Sun newspaper: "We're looking at the judges scoring each contestant for singing ability and their 'x factor'. It will make the live shows more exciting."

Show boss Simon Cowell has also begun looking ahead to the 2016 series and has already lined up One Direction's Louis Tomlinson for the judging panel.

A show insider revealed: "Louis Tomlinson would have been the first choice to replace Louis Walsh this year but it wasn't possible because of 1D's tour.

"He's now very much in line to join the panel next year because of the band's extended break."