Kelly Rowland has demanded a £1 million pay rise to return to 'The X Factor'.
The 'When Love Takes Over' hitmaker is said to have asked for her previous £500,000 salary to be tripled if bosses want her back on the panel of the show - which begins filming in three weeks - after learning Gary Barlow had secured a huge pay rise to take his seat at the head of the judges' table for a second year.
A source said: "Kelly wants the gig but she's a big star and should be paid accordingly.
"She was a popular judge last year -- the producers and Simon Cowell have said as much.
"Simon has even said he wants her back on several occasions, including this week.
"If they want to make her a serious offer then they will have to do just that... make her a serious offer."
However, programme insiders insist that just because they are paying Gary a reported £2 million to return, it doesn't mean they will agree to pay Kelly a higher fee, describing it as a "ludicrous" way to negotiate.
A source told The Sun newspaper: "Yes, we would love to see Kelly back as she was good and people liked her. But we are never held to ransom over these things.
"We never negotiate a deal based on what another member of the show is getting as that would be ludicrous.
"There is not a truckload of money sitting here to just hand out to people. Whatever we pay is a good salary and something they would struggle to get on any other TV show."
And despite the first auditions being shot in Cardiff on May 15, bosses are not concerned that the panel - to which Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos will also return - is not yet finalised.
The source added: "We left things to the last minute last time and there's no reason why we couldn't do it again."