Alexandra Burke will replace Kelly Rowland as a guest judge on this weekend’s X Factor, after a throat infection forced the Destiny’s Child singer to pull out of the live shows.

The chart-topping singer – who won the show in 2008 – was chosen after Kelly, who flew to the US this week, announced she was too ill to return home for Saturday’s show.

She was named as the replacement judge on Saturday afternoon, following speculation that Nicole Scherzinger – who is due to perform on Sunday’s results show – would step in.

“It is true that Alexandra is replacing Kelly tonight, but we have no further information at present,” an ITV spokesperson told the Daily Mail.

The show was reportedly thrown into chaos after Kelly told Simon Cowell on Friday she would not be well enough to appear – leaving bosses with the task of finding a substitute judge at short notice.

She flew to Los Angeles shortly after last Sunday’s results show and is reported to have become ill shortly after – telling The Sun that she had an “extremely rare” infection which had left her unable to eat, drink or even swallow.

“Kelly is devastated she won’t be here for this weekend’s show,” said a statement on the show’s official website. “She is extremely ill with a viral throat infection and her doctors aren’t permitting her to fly.

“Kelly will be returning to the show as soon as she has recovered.”

Her illness comes after she and Tulisa fell out very publicly on last Saturday’s show after the N-Dubz singer accused Misha B – who is being mentored by Kelly – of ‘bullying’ other contestants backstage.

The pair have not spoken since the incident, and Kelly has admitted she is still cross with Tulisa.