X Factor 2014: Louis Walsh for the sack

March 12, 2014, 9:00 AM GMT+0

A poll of X Factor viewers reveals that the return of Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole will make all the difference – but which judges should face the sack?

Now that Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole have announced their return to the X Factor, a burning question remains: there can only be four judges, so who from the current panel should be sacked?

On the eve of the X Factor 2013 finale YouGov surveyed well over a thousand X Factor viewers – asking just that.

First of all, there is no doubt that bringing Cheryl and Simon back is a good move for ITV, who will be hoping that the return of the big beasts will bring back some of the ratings lustre of previous series.

46% of X Factor viewers in December 2013 said Simon Cowell was the one judge they would most like to see return; 23% said Cheryl Cole; far behind was Danni Minogue (11%) and Tulisa Contostavlos (9%). Additionally, 55% said the show would be better if Cowell returned.

But from the 2013 judges there are two which viewers would clearly be less upset about leaving behind: Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh. So with Scherzinger already having announced that she won't be returning to the X Factor, should Louis get the sack?

Reportedly Simon Cowell wants Walsh to stay, but if viewers could sack just one of the current judges 27% would choose Louis. Only 16% would choose Sharon, while a mere 12% would choose Gary.

Moreover, Louis Walsh is chosen by viewers as the most boring of the 2013 panel (37% say he is compared to 21% for Nicole Scherzinger).

That means that – barring the possibility of completely new judges for 2014 – Gary Barlow and Sharon Osborne are the clear favourites to join Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell as the X Factor judges of 2014.

Gary is favoured to come back by 70%, while the second favourite, Sharon Osborne, is favoured to stay by 61%. Scherzinger and Walsh, on the other hand, are only favoured to 50% and 48%, respectively.

Cheryl and Simon fell out when he fired her from the panel of the US version of X Factor in 2011, but on Monday night Cowell welcomed her back, tweeting: 'It's official. Cheryl is back. Be careful what you wish for!'

See the full poll results

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