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Cheryl Cole confirms X Factor return by throttling Simon Cowell on Instagram

The former Girls Aloud singer is rumoured to have signed a 1.5m contract

Simon Cowell has re-enlisted the help of ousted X Factor judge Cheryl Cole in a last-ditch attempt to boost flagging ratings.

The music mogul was part of the team that sensationally sacked the former Girls Aloud star from her job as a judge on The X Factor USA in 2011.

Producers cited her strong Geordie accent and her lack of charisma as the reason they let her go after she had appeared in just half an episode, claiming that the American audience had failed to understand her and hadn't warm to her.

The decision was ultimately a costly one. Not only did it ignite a very public feud between Cole and Cowell, but it also saw the singer sue production company Blue Orbit for $2.3million (£1.4million) for loss of earnings earlier this year.

In November last year, the case was settled out-of-court and an undisclosed sum was paid out to the star.


Now, it seems she's prepared to forgive and forget her turbulent relationship with the pop industry powerhouse and take up her place behind the panel on The X Factor UK.

Cole confirmed the news on Instagram by posting a picture of herself affectionately throttling Cowell (as seen above).

"GUESS WHAT!!.. I'm baaaacccckkkkk!!!! #iMayActuallyRingHisNec #XFactor2014," she wrote.

Soon after, Simon Cowell also confirmed her re-employment, tweeting the following:

Tabloid reports today suggest that Cole has signed a £1.5million contract to appear on the show for just one series. However, this is yet to have been verified.

ITV bosses will certainly be hoping that the return of the pair to the judges panel will revive a lack lustre few years of viewing figures.

Approximately 11.5 million people tuned in to watch Sam Bailey win The X Factor in December 2013, compared to the 17.7 million who turned in to see the final during Cole's last appearance in 2010.

After leaving the show for The X Factor USA, she was replaced by Nicole Scherzinger. Cole made a brief reappearance on the UK series when she assisted Gary Barlow during the Judges' Houses stage of the competition in 2012.

Cole was the winning judge in her first two series, having mentored champions Alexandra Burke and Joe McElderry in 2008 and 2009. Her final year saw her finish as the runner-up with Rebecca Ferguson.