ITV, SyCo and the lady herself have confirmed that Kelly Rowland is not returning to The X Factor this year.
She had been reportedly “95% unlikely” to come back for a second year, opening up speculation that Katy Perry will serve as a guest panellist for the first few auditions before Dannii Minogue makes a full-time return.
Says an official statement:
After much speculation, we can officially confirm today that Kelly Rowland has decided not to return as a judge again for this year’s UK X Factor. Global commitments coupled with the show’s increasing demands this year mean that, despite weeks of deliberation with the show, Kelly has not been able to agree a deal that fits into her autumn/winter schedule, so sadly cannot accept a place on the 2012 panel.
Kelly thoroughly enjoyed her role as a judge on the show, but felt that if there couldn’t be a workable solution to scheduling issues, so that she could effectively juggle her other commitments then she couldn’t wholeheartedly commit to the show this year. Kelly says, ‘I love the UK and being part of the show last year. Mentoring the girls was such an incredible experience I will never forget. I would like to thank Simon for the great opportunity and asking me to be a judge last season.’
It’s thought that Simon was keen on getting the ‘Down For Whatever’ chanteuse back, but that producers weren’t enthusiastic enough to negotiate too hard.
Filmed auditions start on May 15, so expect another announcement very soon regarding her replacement.