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Kelly Rowland, Paulina Rubio join U.S. 'X Factor' judges panel

Kelly Rowland sings the U.S. national anthem before the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Robert Guererro for Mayweather Jr.'s WBC welt
Kelly Rowland sings the U.S. national anthem before the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Robert Guererro for Mayweather Jr.'s WBC welt

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop singer Kelly Rowland and Mexican singer-actress Paulina Rubio have signed onto "The X Factor" judging panel replacing Britney Spears and music mogul L.A. Reid, the Fox television talent competition produced by Simon Cowell said on Monday.

Rowland, who rose to fame with R&B group Destiny's Child, and Rubio will be charged with re-igniting the Fox series that failed to stave off falling ratings after giving Spears a reported $15 million salary last year.

Rowland, 32, and Rubio, 41, will join Cowell, 53, and pop singer Demi Lovato, 20, on the judging panel.

"It's taken more than a decade but I'm delighted to finally be on a panel with three girls (I think!). Paulina and Kelly both have great taste and massive experience in the music industry and together with Demi, this is going to be a fun panel. It just feels like the time to do something different," Cowell said in a statement.

Cowell has revamped the judging panel after each season, firing singers Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger following a disappointing first season in the ratings.

"The X Factor" viewership fell to an average 9.7 million per episode from about 12.5 million in 2011.

Rowland, who has expanded into a solo career outside of Destiny's Child, joined the judges panel on the UK "X Factor" in 2011, bringing with her 20 years of experience in the music industry.

Grammy-winning artist Rubio is one of Latin music's best-known stars, with more than 20 million records sold worldwide.

Alongside her role in "The X Factor," she will also be one of three musical coaches on "La Voz Kids," the Spanish-language version of "The Voice" singing competition on Telemundo, aimed at children.

"I'm so thrilled to be part of the show as a judge. Simon, be careful what you wish for, let's see if you are ready to handle me, empieza la fiesta, amigo!" Rubio said in a statement.

Fox network's "The X Factor," which Cowell created in Britain in 2004 and brought to the United States in 2011, hands out a $5 million prize and record contract on Sony Music Entertainment's Epic Records label.

Previous winners from the UK counterpart include pop singer Leona Lewis and boy band One Direction, both enjoying international success.

The show will enter its third season this fall, and auditions begin on Tuesday in Charleston, South Carolina, and run through July to find the upcoming season's crop of aspiring singers to compete for the prize.

Fox is a unit of News Corp. Sony Music Entertainment is a subsidiary of Sony Corp.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey and Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Eric Beech)

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