Simon Cowell has confirmed that the fourth X Factor judge will finally be announced this week, and revealed the newcomer will be a female star.
"We've settled on someone," the music mogul - who is returning to the panel alongside Cheryl Cole and Louis Walsh - told Digital Spy. "We are going to make the announcement this week.
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Simon Cowell has confirmed the fourth X Factor judge is a female star
"We've decided… (but) we haven’t got the contract signed yet. It's going to be a girl."
Rumours are rife that the fourth judge will be Mel B, who appeared as a guest judge in 2012, and is currently appearing in her second season of America's Got Talent. Louis, 61, seemed to back up those reports when he confirmed his own return to the show.
Simon Cowell is returning to the panel alongside Cheryl Cole and Louis Walsh
"It has to be someone I like," he joked. "I'd love it to be Sharon Osbourne, but I don't think it's going to be her. There are all sorts of rumours going around.
"I think it could be Mel B from the Spice Girls," he added. "I love her and she's quite mad. She also did both the American version and the Australian versions of X Factor."
Rumours are rife that the fourth X Factor judge will be Mel B
Simon has also spoken for the first time about the recent One Direction drugs scandal. Last week, a video was leaked online showing members Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson joking about marijuana while Zayn smoked a rolled-up cigarette.
Now Simon – who put the band together - has defended the boys, and said he hopes their fans stand by them.
"I can only talk about my relationship with them and they've been a joy to work with," he told the Mirror.
Simon Cowell also defended One Direction in the wake of their video scandal
"I've worked with a lot of artists in the past who actually do lose the plot and do lose respect for their fans and forget who took them there. They really do love their fans."
He refused to comment on whether or not he had told the boys off, saying, "It's a private matter. I hope the fans stay loyal."