Cheryl Cole will replace Sharon Osbourne as a judge on 'The X Factor', ITV said today.
The Girls Aloud star had been tipped as favourite to join Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Dannii Minogue on the judging panel since Osbourne’s dramatic exit last week.
Cole, 24, who was catapulted to fame on reality TV show 'Popstars: The Rivals', said it was “scary” to be joining the ITV1 show.
Osbourne, 55, who announced she was quitting on Friday, has denied she walked out because TV bosses would not meet her pay demands and over conflict with Minogue.
She had backed Cole as her favourite to take over her role, one of the biggest on TV.
Before today's announcement, Spice Girl Mel B and singer-turned-TV host Charlotte Church were also said to be in line for the job as fourth judge on the show.
Girls Aloud have been rumoured to be on the verge of splitting, reports which the band members have denied.
Cole’s latest move will fuel the speculation, despite the star emphasising that she will also be working with the band on their next album.
She said: “I’m so excited to be part of such a great show and although it’s scary joining a huge programme like 'The X Factor', it’s a massive honour to be following in the footsteps of Sharon Osbourne.
“The rest of the girls have said they’re right behind me, which is really important for me as it will be weird to be on the other side of the fence this time.
“So whilst we get started on the next album, it will be brilliant to be a judge on 'The X Factor'.”
The highly-paid TV job comes after Cole’s heartache over football star husband Ashley Cole’s alleged infidelity with a hairdresser.
John Kaye Cooper, ITV’s controller of entertainment, said: “Cheryl is not only an amazingly successful, sassy and talented woman but through her winning 'Popstars: The Rivals' has been through similar experiences to those hopefuls who want to take 'The X Factor' crown.
“We’re delighted that she has joined the channel that discovered her and look forward to her becoming an important part of 'The X Factor' team.”