Cheryl Fernandez-Versini was on the original judging line up for Britain's Got Talent, but she "backed out" just before the show launched, Simon Cowell has confirmed.
The TV mogul confirmed reports that Fernandez-Versini from the X Factor had been due to be part of the hit show in a report in the Radio Times.
The variety series made its debut in 2007 with Good Morning Britain's Piers Morgan and Wild At Heart actress Amanda Holden as judges instead.
Holden has sat on the judging panel ever since.
Cowell told the Radio Times: "Cheryl was supposed to be in Amanda's place, but with days to go she backed out."
He added: "We called ITV and they suggested two people - one was Amanda and the other was a girl on Corrie. Now I couldn't imagine doing the show without Amanda."
Britain's Got Talent returns this Saturday, with its first episode set to battle it out against the finale of BBC rival The Voice UK.
Cowell also revealed he had considered moving the Britain's Got Talent judges over to X Factor.
"I think the four of us on the panel is about as good as we're ever going to get," he explained.
"We actually even considered transferring them all on to X Factor at one point, but their egos, if I ever suggested it, would be unbearable!"
More than 13 million viewers watched the 2015 finale of Britain's Got Talent, which was won by Jules O'Dwyer and her dog Matisse.
They became the second dog act to win, following Ashleigh Butler and Pudsey in 2012.
ITV confirmed it would be taking over The Voice from the BBC at the end of last year - the show will air on ITV from 2017.
- Britain's Got Talent will be on ITV on April 9 at 7pm