Gary Barlow Leaving X Factor
X Factor judge Gary Barlow has confirmed he is to step down from the talent contest at the end of this series, making the announcement mid-way through a live show.
The Take That front-man, mentoring the groups, commended three-piece Rough Copy as they closed the evening with a cover of the Phil Collins classic, In The Air Tonight.
“I’m so glad for my last year on the show, I get to mentor you,” he said.
Barlow also praised Scot Nicholas McDonald, 16, who sang True by Spandau Ballet – a song from a decade the teenager thinks is like a period drama. The Take That frontman said: “You’ve got everyone on your side.”
His confirmation follows speculation that this would be his final series as a judge on the show.
Elaborating on his departure in a statement later, Barlow, who is to embark on a solo tour next year, said: “I’ve had an amazing time on X Factor these past three years.
“A show like this needs to stay fresh and exciting so it’s a great opportunity for someone to come in and take the show past its incredible 10-year anniversary.
“Next year is looking to be a very busy year for me and [The X Factor] is a full-time job so it felt like the right time to hand over the baton.
“I’ve loved being a part of the show and have met and worked with some fantastic people but most importantly, more than ever, I want to go out with the winning act this year. Come on the groups!”