Simon Cowell to judge both the US and UK X Factor 2011 live shows

Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell has reportedly "stunned" ITV1 bosses by revealing he now plans to return to the UK X Factor 2011 to judge on the live shows. According to The People, Cowell will join the new look panel as a 'fifth judge' but will give his views via a "transatlantic link".

The news comes as it's suggested Cheryl Cole would also return to the show, sitting in for Simon as the 'fifth judge' when his US commitments prevent him appearing.

A source said today: "Originally he wanted to leave the UK show and just be behind the scenes but now he has changed his mind and wants to appear live and give the contestants his verdicts."

It is understood Simon would act as an independent judge, meaning votes on the results show would never go to deadlock.

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But while we can expect to see Simon on the show, we won't be seeing him in the UK.

Speaking to The People this morning, the source explained: "His US schedule is so busy though that flying over regularly is impossible so he has opted for the transatlantic link.

"He is hoping he can have the best of both worlds. He wants to be a dominant part of the finals."

It was reported last week that Simon was "desperate" to get former judge Cheryl Cole back on the show too, with the Geordie singer also acting as a fifth judge when Simon was unavailable.

At the moment, there is a fifth guest judge role on UK X Factor and Simon is desperate for Cheryl to alternate with him in this role," the source revealed.

They added: “She’d be a fantastic surprise addition to the live final stages of the show.”

New judges Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland and Tulisa Contostavlos join returning star Louis Walsh on this year's show.

The X Factor 2011 starts on August 20.

> Simon Cowell "desperate" to get Cheryl Cole back on The X Factor UK

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