Sharon Osbourne is returning to the X Factor, six years after leaving her seat on the panel. ITV confirmed on Wednesday that the feisty reality star will be joining judges Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger, when auditions begin next month.Speaking about her dramatic return Sharon said: "I couldn't be happier about coming back for the 10th anniversary of X Factor.
"I can't wait to give Gary Barlow a big hug, sit next to the gorgeous Nicole, and of course throw water on dear Louis. Yay!" X Factor creator Simon Cowell was quick to express his excitement at Sharon's comeback: "Three words I never thought I'd say.... Welcome back Sharon!"
The news comes after Tulisa Contostavlos announced on Tuesday she would be leaving the show after two years. The former N-Dubz singer, who joined the show in 2011, winning with girlband Little Mix, confirmed on Twitter she would be departing to "do something different".
"Just wanted to let you all know that I won't be part of the X Factor panel this year," the singer tweeted. "I've had a great time on the show, but this year it's time to do something different."
In recent months, speculation had been growing about Sharon's return, as the show prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary, with Simon Cowell promising an exciting show.
"Sharon and TV bosses feel there is very much unfinished business following her first stint on the show — and are delighted she has agreed to return," a source said.
"It was never about the money for Sharon. She genuinely loves the programme and considers her previous time on the panel as being a very fulfilling time in her life."
This year, ITV have revealed contestants will face two rounds of auditions. They will first audition in front of the four judges in the audition room before performing to a full arena if they make it past the first round.
Sharon, wife of rocker Ozzy Osbourne, left the show after season four, in 2007. Viewers were captivated when she went head-to-head with fellow judge Dannii Minogue.
Outspoken Sharon and newcomer Dannii were soon at loggerheads, and their onscreen fireworks kept fans coming back for more. Sharon later admitted that it was because of the Australian star that she decided to leave the show.