It means this year’s series – which sees the return of show boss Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole, as well as new arrival Mel B and veteran judge Louis Walsh – could finally see the demise of the dreaded deadlock.
While the usual categories of boys, girls, over-25s and groups are set to remain, four wildcard acts will also make it through to the finals in a surprise new twist to the ITV show’s format.
The Metro report the fifth judge is a toss up between Rita Ora and Mary J Blige.
‘Simon Cowell is planning on including a wildcard category which will be mentored by a mystery fifth judge,’ a show insider told Metro.co.uk.
‘There was a creative meeting three weeks ago and plans are now being put into action.’
Explaining the reason behind the new addition to the panel, the insider added: ‘A fifth judge will prevent the deadlock and add some spice to the panel during the live shows.
‘Rita Ora and Mary J Blige are currently in discussions with show bosses.’
According to our source, X Factor Australia has already hired Aussie singer Jessica Maubouy, who was previously a judge on The Voice Australia. as its fifth judge for the live shows.
The addition to the hot seats mean gone are the days when the judges’ decision on which act goes through to the next week goes to deadlock and show host Dermot O’Leary is forced to turn to the public vote.
A further twist will see judges taking four acts each through to the live shows, unlike last year which saw judges Louis, Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne with three each. With the addition of the wildcard category, that means there will be 20 finalists heading to the live shows.
Our source explained: ‘The first two live shows will be held on Saturday and Sunday with two from each category performing on each night.
‘Four will leave in the first weekend; two on Saturday and two on Sunday.
‘The focus this year is to have the judges really battling with each other.’
When contacted by Metro.co.uk, a spokesman for The X Factor brushed off reports of a fifth judge as ‘pure speculation’.