Gary Barlow 'thrilled to be back' on The X Factor

It’s a good day X Factor fans – Gary Barlow has confirmed he will be returning to this year’s judging panel – hurrah!

The Take That star said: “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 was also delighted with the news, saying: “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.”

Since last year’s show, Gary has been as busy as ever, working closely with X Factor 2011 runner-up Marcus Collins, while also organising a special free event to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Speaking about the June 4 concert, he told BBC Radio 2: "I've been working on this for about six months already to try and get the headline acts booked.

"I'm about 60% through booking the bands, we've already got some pretty big acts: Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Sir Tom Jones, JLS, Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Cliff Richard.

"Nobody took much persuading. My focus at the moments is actually some of the American artists, because we're not only featuring British artists or Commonwealth artists.

"I've got to be honest, it's not a hard sell, everybody you talk to, you say, 'This is for the Queen' and they're like, 'This is amazing, we want to be involved.'"

Add to that the fact his wife Dawn is pregnant with their fourth child, and it’s safe to say Mr Barlow is a busy boy but we can’t wait to have him back on our screens judging this year’s army of Xtra talented hopefuls.

The X Factor’s open auditions tour of six major cities has finished but there’s still time to apply via Facebook until 8th May here.

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, before the Judges Auditions Tour starts later in the spring.

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