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Bumped Off - Dannii to be axed

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    Posted: 28 Mar 2010 at 13:48

Bumped off! X Factor to dump pregnant Dannii Minogue

EXCLUSIVE by Lara Gould, TV Editor 28/03/2010

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Pregnant Dannii Minogue is facing the axe from The X Factor.

Producer Simon Cowell can’t see a way Kylie’s little sister can be a judge as her baby is due in July – right in the middle of auditions.

He is said to be in a quandary about what to do – and looking at ways of offering the 38-year-old a scaled-back role on The X Factor when it returns in the autumn.

But he believes it is unrealistic to think mum-to-be Dannii can do the show and is already considering ­possible replacements as part of a radical shake-up of the smash hit ­series.

We can also reveal that Cowell, 50, will hire his 36-year-old fiancée Mezhgan Hussainy as the show’s make-up ­artist.

It means that Mezhgan – tipped to wed Cowell in September weeks before The X Factor’s live shows start – could also appear in front of the camera in what would mark her British TV ­debut.

The couple first met eight years ago on the set of American Idol – the show Simon stepped down from in January so he could launch rival series The X Factor US.

Other changes include plans to stage the live auditions at the Royal Albert Hall instead of ­Fountain studios in Wembley, North-West ­London, with the grand finale at the O2 arena.

Last night a senior show source said: “Simon sees The X Factor as a ­programme that is constantly evolving and developing.

“He knows Dannii was a big part of the show’s success last year but he’s has been thinking about tinkering with the formula for some time.

“The only spanner in the works is that Dannii is now pregnant.

“Simon is acutely aware how this could play out in public. He doesn’t want to be seen as getting rid of Dannii ­because she’s pregnant but ­realistically he knows it will be impossible for her to do the whole show from the auditions through to the live finals.

“It’s a real dilemma but one option being considered is the possibility of giving Dannii a mentoring role on the show but not on the panel.

“Normally a decision like this would be taken much further down the line. But Dannii’s pregnancy means the question has to be addressed now.”

Cowell has already voiced concerns about how Dannii could stay on the series, saying: “At the ­moment she’s having a baby in the middle of the show.” He is also ­conscious of the row over ­Denise Van Outen not ­returning for ­Andrew Lloyd ­Webber’s Over The Rainbow – after ­judging three ­previous “Search” series.

Last week talks about the ­seventh series of The X Factor took place at Cowell’s Los Angeles home. The show’s two other judges Cheryl Cole, 26, and Louis Walsh, 57, have been told their jobs are safe and will sign contracts ­confirming their return next month.

Top of the list of people to ­replace Dannii is Paula Abdul, 47, who notched up eight years as a judge on Cowell’s American Idol before ­quitting last August.

Filming for the new series of The X Factor begins in less than 10 weeks with the nationwide auditions. By then Dannii, who has already revealed her intention to give birth in her native Australia, will be eight months ­pregnant.

But so far the star has done little to make the move easy for Cowell, ­publicly stating her desire to return to The X Factor.

Dannii, who joined the show as a fourth judge in 2008, said: “If possible, I’d love to be a part of the live shows and fly the Team Minogue flag.”

Dannii is currently working on a number of other projects, including ­penning her autobiography and ­launching her own fashion label, Project D. She has also joined Lisa Snowdon, VV Brown and Ana Baros fronting Marks and Spencer’s ­springtime ad campaign.

She is currently in Australia with former rugby player boyfriend Kris Smith, 31, filming the latest round of auditions for ­Australia’s Got Talent.

A spokesman for Cowell said: “Nothing is definite at this stage. Lots of things are being discussed.”

Sunday Mirror
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