First it was Simon Cowell and then Cheryl Cole. And now Dannii Minogue has announced her departure from the X Factor.The 39-year-old posted a link on her Twitter account at the weekend, confirming the news. "I am so disappointed that I can't be part of the X Factor this year. I'm going to miss the show and the amazing team who work so incredibly hard on it," she wrote. "During discussions for me to return… it became clear that unfortunately, this year, the X Factor audition dates in the UK clash with the live shows of Australia's Got Talent during June and July. "For this reason I am unable to return. I want to wish the new judges every success for this year's show, and can't wait to see who the British public choose as their next big star."
Judge Louis Walsh has already expressed his "shock" at the news that Dannii is leaving after four years on the show. "I genuinely thought she was coming back," he said. "I thought they'd done a deal, I really did. "Louis is now the only remaining judge from last year – he will join confirmed newcomer Gary Barlow.It has not yet been announced who the other two panellists will be, although Tulisa Contostavlos, 22, from R&B band N-Dubz, is expected to sign this week.Former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland is also being touted as a replacement.Despite Dannii's upbeat announcement, her split from the show does not appear to have been amicable. She is said to be 'livid' that producers did not attempt to shift audition dates so she could take part.
One show source confirmed to the Daily Mail that bosses had moved "heaven and earth" to allow Gary to film auditions and also appear on Take That's upcoming tour.But Dannii – who mentored Matt Cardle to success last year – was told she would have to fly between the UK and Australia if she wanted to continue. "No attempt was made to move dates for her or to help her out," the source said. "After a very tense week, she said, 'I'm a mum, how can I keep flying back and forth? I have a baby to care for'."Another insider told the Sun: "She was axed, pure and simple. Simon is a huge admirer of Dannii and loved working with her but the fact is he wanted new people this year…"It's true that during discussions there was an issue with dates… But if we wanted her on the show we would have been able to work around it."
Filming the auditions for the new show was meant to start next week, but has now been delayed until the start of June.Fans of Dannii – seen by many as the star of the last series – are already expressing their upset at her departure.Jcallaghan86 wrote on a web forum: "Well I'm not watching now," while Orla added on Twitter: "X Factor will be awful this year – No Cheryl, no Simon and no Dannii?!"