American soul singer Lionel Richie is the latest name to be linked to a judging role on The X Factor this year. The 61-year-old is said to be amongst Simon Cowell's list of possible replacements for both himself and Cheryl Cole on the 2011 panel as both plan on jetting off to work on the US version of the show.
Other names linked to the panel include UK singer Lily Allen and US popstar Nicole Scherzinger. Canadian crooner Michael Buble and Take That stars Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow have also been linked to the role, although both Williams and Barlow have denied the rumours.
Louis Walsh has insisted that no contracts have yet been signed for this year's programme, but recently reviled both he and Dannii Minogue expect to be back when auditions start in the summer.
A source told The Sun today: "It has reached crunch time as we need to start announcing the UK judges."