Just a few hours after officially announcing Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio would be joining The X Factor, Fox has put out a first look at next season’s judging panel. The first round of auditions with the judges present commenced today in Charleston, South Carolina, where the image was taken at the North Charleston Coliseum during today’s big event.

What is most revealing about this first look is the seating arrangement for the new season. Things may not be set in stone at this point, but one of the memorable things about Season 2 was the way that returning judges Demi Lovato and Simon Cowell poked fun at one another when sitting side by side later in the season. Perhaps audiences actually found those silly comments to be annoying and thus producers opted to separate them. Obviously, I’m speculating, but if those conversations were popular, you would think the two would sit near one another again this year. In a musical chairs move, Rubio has taken over L.A. Reid’s slot, Lovato is in former judge Britney Spears’ seat, Rowland is in Lovato’s, and Cowell is in his usual chair.

THR first reported the news, also noting the fashionable attire the three ladies are wearing. That’s one thing audiences have to look forward to. With one less male on the panel, costumes are about to get a whole lot more colorful. Hopefully, the new judges’ personalities will be as vibrant as their individual looks.

The X Factor’s Season 3 online auditions will continue until June 15. The series is expected to return to Fox’s schedule this fall.

Photo Credit@ Ray Mickshaw / FOX.

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