Cheryl Cole plots X Factor return with Simon Cowell, set to replace Tulisa Contostavlos

Gary Barlow faces axe; Nicole Scherzinger stays
Cheryl Cole plots X Factor return with Simon Cowell, set to replace Tulisa Conto

Cheryl Cole is set to return to The X Factor as Simon Cowell thinks she's the only person who can save the ailing show.

The Girls Aloud star - who quit the ITV1 show last year to become a judge on the US version, before being sacked after just a few episodes - has already had talks with Cowell about coming back to the UK judging panel in place of Tulisa Contostavlos.

A source said: "Cheryl is coming back on TV in 2013 and will be working with Simon. People love to watch her. She was with X Factor at its peak."

Her friend and manager confirmed her return, saying: "It's going to be dope."

Cole's return means current judge Contostavlos will be axed, while Gary Barlow is also set to leave.

Cowell wants Nicole Scherzinger - whose act James Arthur won last night's (09.12.12) final - to stay and isn't sure about the future of Louis Walsh.

The source added to the Daily Mirror: "There are going to be the biggest changes ever on the show. We have to respond to the drop in ratings and level of interest."

Other changes will see the start of next year's show being moved back to the weekend after children return to school to make it the most talked about by young fans.

Saturday shows will start earlier and the arena auditions will be axed in favour of hopefuls singing in a small room in front of just the judges.

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