Earlier today, Dannii Minogue confirmed she had quit The X Factor after four years on the show. In her statement, Dannii put the exit down to "impossible" schedule clashes with her work on Australia's Got Talent - but we're not so sure we buy that reason behind the exit.
Having judged Australia's Got Talent since its launch back in 2007, the same year she joined The X Factor, schedule clashes haven't caused Dannii too many problems in the past. In 2008 the Aussie pop star easily missed recordings of The X Factor auditions due to working on Australia’s Got Talent and also missed episodes of Australia's Got Talent due to work here in Blighty, so we're not too sure what has changed.
Dannii Minouge even missed all of last year's auditions due to pregnancy, with guest judges stepping in at each location to help keep the panel fresh. Had this plan flopped we could see the need for Dannii to return this year, however in actual fact last year's ratings were completely in line with the previous years, making it clear guest judges do not affect the ratings.
Indeed, guest judges are not new on The X Factor, back in 2006 before Dannii even joined the panel, American Idol judge Paula Abdul had a short stint on the show helping out at the London auditions. And no X Factor fan can forget Brian Friedman's presence on the panel in 2007 - albeit in slightly different circumstances.
So what is it we're trying to say here? Well ultimately other than we don't believe the reason given for Dannii leaving the show is true, we're not too sure ourselves. There are a few possibilities...
Dannii was pushed. It's more than possible that what really went on here was The X Factor bosses waned a nice (almost) new canvas for this year's show, with Cheryl and Simon quitting did they want Dannii off the panel too? Other suggestions could well be linked to the apparent return of ‘rival’ Sharon Osbourne, however we don't really buy into that particular conspiracy theory.
Dannii's real reason is more personal. If we're going to be less cynical this seems to be mostly likely option; it may just be that the new mum doesn't want to do the show any more and wanted to let us fans down lightly!
Or perhaps, looking back at Series 4 and remembering this is a Simon Cowell production, we may be seeing just a bit of PR hype from the people at The X Factor here, similar to Louis Walsh's 'faux' axing in 2007. Could we see Dannii Minogue making a 'shock return' to the panel after a 'fan outcry' in a few weeks time?
Whatever has gone on behind the scenes though the show has certainly taken a hit losing three of the four panellists in just one year, we wonder if it is even worth keeping Louis or starting over again?