Gary Barlow returns to X Factor

ITV and the producers of The X Factor, Thames and Syco, today announced that Gary Barlow is returning to the Judging panel for the 2012 series of the country’s number one show.

One of Britain’s most successful singer songwriters and a member of one of the biggest pop groups of all time, Take That, Gary has amassed twelve UK No. 1 hits and is a five times recipient of the Ivor Novello award for songwriting.

After successfully mentoring his acts throughout last year’s competition and taking Marcus Collins to the live final at Wembley Arena, Gary is ready to begin the search for the next generation of talent on the nation’s biggest television show.

Gary Barlow says: “I'm thrilled to be back and really looking forward to working with The X Factor team again. The fact that a superstar could just walk out on that stage is very exciting.”

Simon Cowell says: “It’s great to be able to confirm our first judge for this year’s show. Gary has earned his place and I’m excited to be working with him again.”

Peter Fincham, ITV’s Director of Television, says:  “Gary quickly established himself as a key member of The X Factor judging panel, drawing on his years of experience in the music industry to help in the search for our undiscovered singing stars.  I'm thrilled to welcome him back to the biggest show on British television.”

Richard Holloway, Director of Entertainment, Thames, says: “Gary brings his vast music expertise, his fabulous character and down-to-earth approach to the show and audiences adore him so we are absolutely delighted that he’s coming back.”

Siobhan Greene, Head of TV, Syco Entertainment Ltd, says: “We're all so excited to have Gary back on the judging panel. Gary has a wealth of experience and knowledge of the music industry and the viewers loved him. We’re looking forward to an exciting year ahead.”

The X Factor’s open auditions tour of six major cities has finished but budding artists can apply via Facebook until 8th May at:

In an exciting first for the series, everyone aged 16 and above can enter whether they are an amateur artist, have had a management deal in the past or have one now.

The other Judges will be announced soon and the Judges Auditions Tour starts later in the spring.

The series returns to ITV1, ITV2 and later in the summer, 2012.

The X Factor was the most watched show in 2011 and was named Best Talent Show at the National TV Awards in January.