Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne will be returning to 'The X Factor'.

Sharon Osbourne

Sharon Osbourne

The veteran judges, both 65, were rumoured to have been told last week they were to be let go from the talent show, despite having three-year contracts, as programme boss Simon Cowell planned to bring in a younger panel in a bid to boost voters.

However, after Simon was told the series' core audience is actually older music fans and was warned by ITV they wouldn't pay £4 million to release them from their contracts, the pair are now set to keep their seats.

A source told the Mail on Sunday newspaper: "Louis and Sharon have to stay. Both made it clear they were going nowhere and they would fight for their jobs.

"Not only would the cost to get rid of them run into several million, so would the stars who would take over. It is just not a feasible option, they will be back alongside Simon.

"But the big issue here is that it means Simon can't go young again, he can't get a team of young talent in to appeal to a new audience.

"Instead, he will have to stick with what he has got - and accept that his loyal audience is much older than he had believed."

Simon, 58, is said to be "very picky" about who will take the fourth judging spot from 39-year-old Nicole Scherzinger, but Louis Tomlinson, 26, is favourite to land the slot.

A source said: "The fourth position is very fluid. It is anybody's right now but Louis has the best chance at the moment."

Filming is scheduled to begin on the new series in June.