Cheryl ‘to replace Sinitta on The X Factor’ as show hits back against ‘scouting’ claims

Aimée Grant Cumberbatch
Replacement: Cheryl is rumoured to be replacing Sinitta as Simon Cowell's guest: Tristan Fewings/Getty

Cheryl is reportedly set to replace Sinitta as Simon Cowell’s guest during the judges’ houses stage of The X Factor.

The news comes as the singing competition responded to claims that most of the contestants who are making it to the final stages of the competition have been ‘cherry-picked’ by producers.

Speaking on ITV chat show Lorraine, The Sun’s Bizarre editor Dan Wootton said Cheryl “would be making her big X Factor comeback before potentially before a return maybe to the judges panel next year”.

Wootton then went on to claim that So Macho singer Sinitta had texted him to confirm the news.

Leave-ing: Sinitta was known for sporting outlandish outfits on the show but has reportedly now been dropped (Rex)

“Now Sinitta – not happy about this, she messaged me last night to say: ‘They decided to go in a different direction is what one of the directors told me. I had prepared and also turned down other work and created something incredible to wear’”.

Cheryl last participated in a series of the X Factor in 2015 as a judge, after briefly leaving the show to work on the US version.

Meanwhile Sinitta has been a guest on the show during the judge’s house stage almost every year since it began in 2004.

She has also worked as a producer and presenter on X Factor sister show Xtra Factor.

The series is currently embroiled in a row over ‘scouted’ contestants after a source revealed to the Daily Star last week that the process could be considered ‘fixed’,

“The whole point of X Factor is that it gives anyone the chance to make it. But this series, it’s like only ones cherry-picked by the show have got to judges’ houses,” the source said.

“It will feel to some like the process is fixed in favour of the ones picked out by staff.”

If the accusations are true, it would be at odds with the show’s premise that its contestants are unknown singers who are discovered through the audition process.

A spokesperson for The X Factor has responded to the claims, saying ‘it’s no secret’ that producers ‘approach’ potential singing talent.

“It’s no secret, like many other TV talent shows, we approach people to make them aware of the auditions,” the spokesperson said.

“Anyone who applies goes through the exact same process and no one is ever guaranteed that they will go through to the next stage. All auditions are judged on the performance on the day.”

The X Factor airs on Saturday, September 30 at 8pm on ITV.