09:49 18 April 2012
Gary Barlow will return for the next series of the X Factor, it has been confirmed.
The Take That star is the first judge confirmed for the 2012 series and has said he is "thrilled" to be returning:
"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."
Show boss Simon Cowell said Barlow's return:
"Gary has earned his place and I'm excited to be working with him again."
Peter Fincham, ITV's director of television commented:
"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."
Fellow judges Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos are widely expected to return to the ITV talent show, however it is anyones guess whether Kelly Rowland will join the panel again.
The rules have been tweaked for the latest series. Now, any artist or act, aged 16 or above can apply, even if they have a management deal in place.
The X Factor will return in the late summer on ITV1.
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