Despite Seven's The X Factor delivering stellar ratings last year as *Perth *-raised songbird *Samantha Jade *was crowned winner, *Ronan Keating *has hinted that he "isn't sure" if he will return to the judging panel this year.
With a packed period ahead which will see him perform in shows on the east coast and tour abroad, Keating said he was yet to sign on the dotted line to return as a judge.
"I won't say no yet - I'm just not sure," he told TV Week.
He also added that it was the same story for his fellow judges, *Guy Sebastian *, *Natalie Bassingthwaighte *, who announced late last year that she was expecting her second child, and *Mel B *.
"None of us have confirmed yet, so we'll see what happens."
Joining Keating, right, on his three-date east coast tour - which will kick off in Victoria on March 1 - are two of the Irish singer's top three groups *Fourtunate * and *the Collective *, though they will perform on separate dates.
He spent Christmas in the UK with girlfriend and TV producer *Storm Uechtritz *- who is working on the British version of The Voice.
Keating admits that, while things are going well, it has been tough trying to juggle their relationship with work schedules.
"We both have busy careers but we'll get there," he said.
The X Factor *Perth *auditions will be held between 9am and 3.30pm at the Parmelia Hilton on Saturday, January 19 and Sunday, January 20.
Auditions will also take place in *Kalgoorlie * at the Goldfields Arts Centre on Tuesday, January 22.