A major international star is set to be unveiled as an X Factor judge at TV3's new season launch on Tuesday.

The announcement is being kept under wraps, and several big bands being in town is providing a convenient decoy.

Executive producers have been in close contact with the makers of the Australian X Factor - leading to speculation that Mel B, a judge on that country's show, could be enlisted.

Other judges on the Australian franchise include Guy Sebastian, a former Australian Idol winner, and Ronan Keating.


Tamati Coffey was especially keen to get Mel B - who is from the same part of England as his partner Tim - involved with New Zealand's Got Talent.

A TV3 source said Simon Cowell was having direct input into the New Zealand version of the show.

Meanwhile, it has emerged the X Factor was rejected for funding last year by NZ On Air.

Documents released under the Official Information Act reveal the show was knocked back for $1.6 million public money in the funding round last December.

NZ On Air's coffers had already run dry but it was funded in the September round of grants.