Louis Tomlinson
One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson could be set to join Simon Cowell at judges' houses on The X Factor REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson could be returning to the place where it all started as reports claim he is heading back to The X Factor. According to sources, the Drag Me Down hitmaker will be joining show boss Simon Cowell at judges' houses later in the current series.

The Sun reports that Cowell, 55, is keen to replace former pop star and his close friend Sinitta who typically joins him at the judges' houses stage. The newspaper claims that Tomlinson, 23, is Cowell's top choice of co-mentor as he is confident the boy band singer will bring in the viewers with the competition battling against BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing.

The source said: "Simon is pulling out the big guns as he is still determined to make this series a huge success. One Direction have always been big ratings winners and Louis is the most outspoken of the band. He won't be afraid to tell people if they're terrible, which Simon loves." The reports come after Cowell revealed the 1D hitmaker could appear in a future episode, telling reporters at The X Factor press launch in August: "I think Louis might be on one of the shows."

It would undoubtedly bring back fond memories for Tomlinson, who found fame on the show in 2010 when he was put into a group with Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and former bandmate Zayn Malik. The band have now gone on to sell millions of records worldwide, becoming the biggest boy band in the world. Tomlinson will certainly have more time on his hands in the coming months as it has been confirmed that 1D will be taking a hiatus once their current On The Road Again world tour wraps up in October.

X Factor already appears to be struggling against its BBC competitor, drawing in a reported 7.5m viewers during its third weekend while the first episode of Strictly's new series attracted 8.7m. According to The Mirror, a total of 9.7m viewers were tuning into the celebrity dancing competition at its peak. Addressing the ratings battle, the insider said: "We are actually up half a million in peak viewing but we react to what's going on."

The X Factor returns to screens on Saturday 12 September 2015 on ITV.