With the news that Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell won't be on the panel this, and Dannii Minogue taking her time in signing up, we ask who could replace the trio on this year's show. While many names have been thrown about, here's who we reckon would be a good bet to join The X Factor 2011...
The first seat to fill is that of Simon Cowell, a pretty hard task given how the music mogul has become a staple of reality telly shows. Personally we reckon Simon would need to be replaced by an older male who had plenty of experience in the music business - and rumours suggest that person will be Gary Barlow.
However the Take That star isn’t the most exciting personality on earth, and despite The X Factor primarily being a singing competition some thought does have to be given to entertainment too.
One of the key ingredients for whoever does end up replacing Simon however is being different. Anyone coming in and trying to re-create his 'nasty and ruthless' attitude to judging is almost certain to fail.
One of our ideal judges would be Canadian singer Michael Buble.
Buble is very much a long term friend of the show, having appeared many times over the years both as a performer and a mentor. Having sold more than 35 million albums across the world and winning numerous awards - including two Grammys - Michael certainly meets he experience criteria, but what will he be like as a judge?
Next is the seat of Dannii Minogue, perhaps the easiest of the three to fill. While it's not been confirmed Dannii will be leaving this series, she most certainly will be absent for at least some audition dates due to her work on Australia’s Got Talent.
Any perspective replacement of Dannii in our view should be female, older and have a background in performing like the Aussie popstar herself. A former Spice Girl such as Gerri Halliwell may be a good route, however given her reception on last year's show perhaps she's best left alone for now. We would’ve also liked to see Mel C on the panel, however unfortunately the singer is off to join The X Factor in Australia this year.
Another name we’d like to see on the panel is English soul singer Gabrielle. With more than a decade of experience on stage and singing Gabrielle should be able to easily recreate Dannii’s role on the show as the "sensible" judge and give helpful and constructive criticism.
It is Cheryl's role on the show that is perhaps the hardest to fulfil, indeed how do you find a popstar in the UK spoken about more than Cole? The ideal replacement would be a younger, up and coming popstar in our view.
Nicole Scherzinger was a good bet, however with the news that she's hosting the US version of the show it looks like we'll have to settle for someone else.
Pixie Lott caught our eye on last year's show when she replaced Dannii for the auditions in Cardiff. At just 20 years old, Pixie already has two number one singles and a platinum album under her belt - but could her age work against her? With The X Factor having no upper age limit, can we see older acts taking advice from someone so young and still learning the ropes herself?
On the other hand a much younger mentor could help the show become far more current, perhaps we'll finally see the end to such themed weeks as Elton John and Wham!
Alesha Dixon is another name currently being thrown around in connection with the show, however we can't help but feeling the former Girl Groups star turned Solo star turned reality TV judge would just come across as a poor attempt to re-create Cheryl. The panel needs to move on and change.
In the end whoever does replace Cheryl has some big boots to fill. Whilst there may not be much work involved in uttering limited criticisms that make excessive use of the word thoroughly, garnering the amount of press attention and ratings that Cole did will be some challenge.
Ultimately the bosses at ITV have a big job their hands, with the current panel having helped The X Factor to rocket over the past few years, replacing one of them without seeing a dip in the ratings - let alone three - is a big ask.
The new panel will be announced within the next week on TellyMix.