For the past eight series, Simon Cowell’s ex-girlfriend, Eighties popstar Sinitta, has been a quirky fixture on The X Factor.
But she won’t be seen on this year’s show after a bizarre row over a confidentiality agreement Cowell insisted she sign.
Sinitta always appeared alongside Cowell at the judges’ houses stage of the competition that determines which singers make it through to the live performance episodes. Last year, she took on the same role for Louis Walsh.
But it is understood Sharon Osbourne, herself a former X Factor judge, will work alongside Louis this year instead.
Sinitta’s axing came when she refused to sign a hefty, legally-binding confidentiality agreement banning her from publicly discussing any details of The X Factor process.
Show source reveals: ‘Sinitta is extremely disappointed because she felt she would always be a central part of the show after so many years.
However, she wasn’t prepared to sign away her rights to speak to anyone about the show — which is what she was expected to do.
‘The producers know Sinitta will always tell it like it is and with all the criticism of the show at the moment, regarding the manipulation of contestants, they didn’t want to take any chances. But it feels like extreme paranoia.
‘Sinitta has been a defender of Cowell publicly for years, even when he sacked Cheryl Cole. What does the show have to hide?
‘Even though she remains close friends with Simon, she’s one of the few people who is prepared to tell him where to go. That’s exactly what she did.’
An X Factor spokesman said: ‘There were never any plans for Sinitta to be a mentor this year and she was not approached.’