LONDON: Nicole Scherzinger has squeezed an extra £250,000 out of Simon Cowell to become The X Factor’s fourth judge, reported British daily The Sun on Friday.
The hard-bargaining former Pussycat Doll was originally offered a contract worth £500,000 to replace Kelly Rowland on the hit ITV1 show.
But the canny singer dragged out negotiations for ten days — and is believed to have raised the deal to £750,000.
Pals say Nicole is thrilled, and she is expected to sign on the dotted line within the next 24 hours, joining Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos for Monday’s auditions in Newcastle.
Nicole’s deal is higher than Tulisa’s £500,000 contract but dwarfed by Gary’s £2million.
Insiders said Nicole secured a higher contract than Tulisa because of her time on the US X Factor — from which she was fired by Cowell after just a year as part of a major shake-up of the show.
An insider said: “Nicole has played the long game on this.
“She was offered a £500,000 deal a week ago but kept her counsel and managed to get this bumped up by another £250,000. She is thrilled with the offer and is expected to sign in the next day and be in place as the fourth permanent judge by Monday.
“Nicole thought her X Factor days were over when she was axed from the US X Factor but she was a hit with British viewers as a guest judge two years ago and when she helped out this series.”
Bosses had been trying out a series of guest judges after Dannii Minogue rejected an offer to replace Kelly.
Former Spice Girls Geri Halliwell and Mel B both took turns, as did fellow chart-toppers Rita Ora, Leona Lewis and Anastacia.
Geri was an early favourite but bosses decided she didn’t have enough chemistry with the other judges. Mel B was ruled out because of her contract with the Australian X Factor.
The auditions are due to wind up at the end of this month.