It's been reported in the UK media that Simon Cowell is attempting to hire Rihanna for the X Factor judging panel.

Cowell - who is set to return to the show along with Cheryl Cole - is hoping the Barbadian-born superstar will join because she could help make the ITV show more popular than BBC One rival Strictly Come Dancing.

"Simon and Cheryl have two months to find someone to sit in that chair and they want to get the right person," a source told the Daily Star.

"This year is an important one for X Factor. Simon can't be complacent and has to come back with a real A-Team.

"Rihanna would be a shock selection because she is not an obvious choice for a family show - but that's what he wants."

Cowell (54) previously revealed he will include Cole (30) in any discussions regarding the panel and she will have final say on new appointments.

It's thought the pair are at odds over whether to rehire the X Factor's longest serving judge, Irish boy band supremo, Louis Walsh.

Other names being bandied about include LMFAO rapper Redfoo - who is a judge on the Australian version of X Factor - and Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie.

An ITV spokesperson said: "The only judges confirmed this year are Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole, the rest of the judging panel will be announced in due course."