Louis Walsh has hailed Cheryl Cole as the obvious choice to return to The X Factor judging panel.

The Irish producer revealed Kelly Rowland would not be back for the new series of the ITV talent show as he talked to the Daily Mirror at the Brits after-show party, and said Cheryl would be her ideal replacement.

Louis said: “I’ll tell you who the panel will be. It will be Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh, Tulisa and perhaps Cheryl Cole.

“She could be back. I’m not saying she definitely will, but I’d love to see her.”

Cheryl, 28, left the ITV show last year to help Simon Cowell launch the US X Factor, but was sacked from the US show after two weeks, amid claims Americans couldn’t understand her Geordie accent.

Simon has said: “I regret what happened because Cheryl was a close friend. She could be a panellist again if she wanted to – 100 per cent.”

Meanwhile, Simon has slammed the first ever X Factor winner Steve Brookstein, calling him ‘horrible and ungrateful’.

The music mogul was asked during a question-and-answer session with sick children at a hospital fundraiser to name the worst person he had ever had on the show.

Simon named Steve, and added: “He was horrible, ungrateful and totally selfish. He just wouldn’t listen.”

Steve’s music career flopped after winning the show and he blamed Simon, claiming he had been dumped by his record label.