The former Spice Girl's past turn as a judge was a true revelation of splenetic anger. Provided she doesn't keel over in a rage-induced seizure, there's a good chance she could prove the salvation of this ailing show.
Usually at this time of year, with a new series of X Factor looming on the horizon, it's normal to feel a surge of unstoppable dread. Dread at having to watch Gary Barlow slow-puncture all the fun out of the room again. Dread at having to see Nicole Scherzinger crane her neck around like an attention-starved toddler whenever she says the word "balls". Dread at watching a past-its-peak show sink further and further into the abyss.
But today things are different. Thanks to the news that Mel B has joined X Factor as a judge, you might even feel a glimmer of hope. Because, on paper, this is the best judging lineup that X Factor has ever had.
We'll start with Mel B, who made a brief yet indelible appearance as a judge back in 2012. I wrote about her brilliant ferocity at the time and there's no reason to suggest that she won't be as uncontrollably furious now. Based on her past performance, Mel B doesn't so much critique artists as machine-gun them to ribbons. She genuinely looks as if she hates having anything to do with the show, much like the average viewer. She is going to be fantastic. That's assuming that she makes it all the way to Christmas, of course – I'd like to think that she'll either be arrested for grievous bodily harm or carted off to hospital with an aneurism long before that.
Mel B's splenetic anger will be a handy prop to returning head judge Simon Cowell. If his appearance on this year's X Factor is anything like his appearance on this year's Britain's Got Talent, he also won't really want to be there. But, unlike Mel B, he is long since lost the ability to get angry about it. He is trapped in a howling infinity loop of crap singers and tedious showboaters now, and it's exhausted him. Even at his most low-energy, though, he is still bound to be a billion times better than Barlow.
Cheryl Cole, having rightly come to the conclusion that she needs X Factor much more than it needs her, has returned too. This means two things – first that the UK's hairspray stocks will fall dramatically in the next six months, and second that we're bound to have to sit through a rendition of her new single where she dresses up as a randy soldier, waves her limbs around like a marionette trying to get a wasp out of its hair and barely bothers to mime the lyrics properly. Lots of people like that sort of thing, so that's OK.
And that leaves Louis Walsh, the ghost of Christmas stupid, sitting on the end forever comparing people to miniature versions of other people, like some sort of cursed fairytale gnome. X Factor, as we all know, would fall apart the second he decides to leave, so his presence this year can only be a blessing.
Call me naive, but the Simon-Mel-Cheryl-Louis lineup is exciting: together they might just beat the odds and drag X Factor back to its glory days. However, as always, I reserve the right to completely reverse this decision two seconds into the new series. What do you think?