nicole scherzinger
Apple of his eye: Judges Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger Getty

The X Factor judging line-up has been confirmed as Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell will grace the panel for the 2016 series. After months of speculation, the new judges will replace last series' judges Nick Grimshaw, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Rita Ora and Dermot O'Leary will resume his hosting role in the place of Caroline Flack and Olly Murs.

And the new line-up will surely be a singing success as all four judges have been winning mentors in previous series, but will be a complete overhaul as the only remaining person from the 2015 show is music mogul Cowell. Interestingly, the judges – except Scherzinger – all made up the original panel from the first season in 2004, which was hosted by Kate Thornton.

Walsh, 63, is the longest-serving judge having starred on the show for 11 series before taking a break last year. He expressed his excitement for returning to the show to the Press Association, stating: "He'd say otherwise but I knew Simon missed me last year!

"I'm delighted to be back on the panel, especially beside my two favourite female judges Sharon and Nicole, and I'm looking forward to taking them all back to Dublin this year when we head there for auditions," he added.

Osbourne is also excited about joining the show again since the 2013 series. She said: "I'm overjoyed about going back to The X Factor, sitting with Lou, gorgeous Nicole and naughty Simon. But most of all, I can't wait to meet baby Eric."

sharon osbourne
Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne, Simon Cowell, Dannii Minogue and Dermot O'Leary from The X Factor Getty

Former Pussycat Doll Scherzinger, who won the show in 2012 with contestant James Arthur, remarked: "I can't wait to be back in the UK and on the show with the best judges sitting alongside me on the panel.

"I'm excited about discovering, mentoring and winning with an exciting new act this year. And having had winning contestants in the past, Simon knows I will do it," she continued.

IBTimes UK previously speculated that Ora walked away from her £1.5m X Factor deal after discovering that Scherzinger ranked above her in Cowell's pecking order. The 25-year-old singer heard rumours that Cowell would drop her if he could snap up Scherzinger, 37, and legged it before she experienced the same humiliation as Fernandez-Versini after her X Factor USA sacking.

A source said: "Simon offered Rita her old job back but always knew he'd withdraw it if he could get Nicole. Now Rita has found out about it and has claimed that she has 'quit' so that it doesn't look like she was pushed."