Cowell plays favourites with the X Factor judges
michael baggs
08:59 22nd October 2012

Simon Cowell is said to be snubbing X Factor Gary Barlow - in favour of showing special preference to Nicole Scherzinger. 

Tabloids report Cowell is favouring Scherzinger by making 'flattering' phonecalls to her late at night, telling her that she is more worthy of the head judge title - especially as opposed to Barlow.

And even though he originally planned to fire her from the show next year, there are now hints that he could be ready to invite her back.

A source told The Sun: "Simon’s irritation with Gary is well known. He’s given him the Over-25s — two of whom have been binned. And he’s been refusing to call Gary.

"Instead he’s been buttering up Nicole on the phone — saying her comments are best and don’t sound scripted like Gary’s."

Nicole Scherzinger and Gary Barlow - X Factor judge rivals?

However, we can't see Barlow being too upset over this as we previously reported that the Take That star isn't planning on returning to the show next year.

Barlow has reportedly become increasingly disillusioned with the X Factor - not only is Cowell currently blanking him, but he is also in a feud with fellow judge Louis Walsh - and is already beginning to make plans for life after X Factor.

He recently announced a upcoming solo UK tour and has spoken of his plans for Take That to release a new album next year.

Watch the video for Gary's 'Sing' below:

Photos: Gary Barlow - from jelly-smeared bum to the Queen's best mate