Amid a major judges overhaul for season three of “The X Factor,” there will be at least two familiar faces looking back at the contestants — one of them smiling.
In addition to “X Factor” mastermind Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato will be back in a judge’s chair for the third season of the Fox series.
The pop singer, who joined the singing competition in its second season, was the youngest judge on the show and mentor to the Young Adults category.
“I am so excited to return as a judge and mentor on ‘X Factor,’“ said Lovato. “Last season was an unbelievable experience and I really enjoyed developing personal relationships with the contestants and the panel. I look forward to taking my experience and applying it to make this season even better.”
Season three of “X Factor”began the first round of auditions on March 6 in Los Angeles. So far, replacements have not been named for exiting judges L.A. Reid and Britney Spears, nor have co-hosts Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian been confirmed to return. Open auditions for season three continue in New Orleans on April 14, followed by Long Island, N.Y., on April 25 and Denver on May 14.
“I couldn’t be happier that Demi wants to come back this year,” said executive producer Cowell in a statement. “She’s a superstar in her own right and was a fantastic mentor last year. Even though she can be really, really annoying – I truly enjoyed working with her and so did the artists. I’m especially pleased she’s back even during her world tour!”
Lovato has had a busy 2013 already. The first single off her currently untitled fourth studio album, “Heart Attack,” debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes chart in 18 countries (including the U.S.) and No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (the second-best Billboard debut of the year).
Though Lovato was the first mentor knocked out of the competition, with all four of her acts sent home early, she was a hit with audiences. Even in studio tapings, the former Disney star was the subject of constant and deafening screams and countless signs. Her followers stayed glued to Lovato’s every move and offered words of praise and encouragement via social media, making her one of the most obvious fan favorites on the panel.
This month, during an appearance on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show, Cowell confessed that he hoped Lovato would return to the series. “We’d be crazy not to have her back,” he said, adding that “I liked having Demi on the show” and that “she’s fun to work with.”