With The X Factor soon heading back to our screens, it’s been confirmed that Louis Walsh WON’T be returning after a whopping 13 years on the panel.

The Irishman announced the news on Thursday and admitted that he’s ‘ready’ to bow out from the role.

“I’ve had a fantastic 13 years on The X Factor but the show needs a change and I’m ready to leave,” Louis, 65, said in a statement.

“I’m looking forward to another series of Ireland’s Got Talent, going back to my day job as a manager, writing my memoirs and seeing the world!”

It comes amid reports that Simon Cowell had been planning to fire Louis, who is the longest-serving judge and has appeared on all but one series of the talent contest since it began in 2004.

So who WILL be on this year’s panel? Well it’s been revealed that three new faces will join, though Sharon Osbourne is set to return for the live shows but will skip the auditions stage.

“I can’t wait to get back to the judges’ desk,” Sharon, 65, said of the news. “I love the new format.”

It looks like Nicole Scherzinger has been dropped, whilst Simon, 58, is of course coming back as head judge but we’ll have to wait and see who the new arrivals are.

Amelia Brown, managing director of Thames, has said: “This is the start of a new era for The X Factor. I am really excited about all the ideas we have for the coming series including, of course, the new judging panel.”

Exciting! Stars linked to joining the show as new judges include Rita Ora, Louis Tomlinson, Kylie Minogue and Craig David.

Judges’ auditions for the 2018 series will kick off at Wembley Arena in London and more than 30,000 contestants have so far entered the open auditions across the country.

Here’s hoping this year’s winner will have better luck than 2016 victor Matt Terry, who has parted ways with his record label reportedly being axed.

From our sister site CelebsNow.