“The X Factor” executive producer Simon Cowell has all but admitted that Gary Barlow will probably not be a judge on “The X Factor” U.K. in 2012 because Barlow’s singing group Take That has work commitments (including a new album in 2012) that would prevent Barlow from continuing to be a judge on the show.
In May 2011, Barlow replaced Cowell on “The X Factor” U.K. judging panel, after Cowell quit to focus on his duties as executive producer/judge of “The X Factor” U.S. (Cowell is still an executive producer of “The X Factor” U.K.)
Several “X Factor” U.K. audition dates in 2011 were rescheduled so that they would not conflict with Take That’s tour that year. But it appears that “The X Factor” U.K. will not be able to make these types of accommodations for Barlow’s work schedule in 2012.
According to The Sun’s TV Biz column:
Simon told TV Biz: “I always thought that with Gary he would have the Take That commitment in 2012. But there has to be a certain amount of unpredictability with this show, it is what keeps people interested.”
He said that Gary and the other judges had been surprised at how the show had dominated their lives and added: “It is relentless. They felt it big time.”
Simon also told TV Biz that NONE of last year’s other judges — Tulisa Contostavlos, Kelly Rowland and Louis Walsh — were guaranteed a spot this year.
He said: “I don’t know if I will keep the panel the same yet. No one knows yet because I haven’t decided. Look what happened last time I tried to fire Louis! But I wouldn’t say he is safe. We have got to look at everything — the whole show and panel.”
Cowell’s statement about Barlow’s possible “X Factor” exit comes just a few weeks after the Daily Mirror reported that Rowland was also quitting “The X Factor” U.K. judging panel. A spokesperson for Rowland responded to the Daily Mirror report by saying a decision has not been made yet about Rowland’s future with the show.
It has been rumored for several weeks that Barlow and Rowland will be quitting the show. Rowland and Contostavlos joined “The X Factor” U.K. in May 2011. Rowland replaced Dannii Minogue, and Contostavlos replaced Cheryl Cole. Walsh has been an “X Factor” U.K. judge since the show debuted in 2004.
Barlow and Rowland famously feuded with Contostavlos and Walsh, and the feuding was played out in British tabloids. The four judges are reportedly on amicable terms now, but it is very likely that the past feuding will affect Rowland’s and Barlow’s decisions about whether or not to return to the show.
Barlow and Rowland skipped not only the party that “The X Factor” U.K. had after the 2011 season finale on December 11, but also a separate wrap party that took place two nights later for the show’s finalists and employees. However, Contostvalos and Walsh did attend the parties.
In other news about Barlow, on January 10, 2012, he was a guest of honor at a reception hosted by Samantha Cameron (wife of British prime minister David Cameron) at the Camerons’ London home at No. 10 Downing Street to honor the BBC Children in Need charity. Barlow has been a longtime supporter of BBC Children in Need, and he is one of the chief organizers of BBC Children in Need fundraising events. David and Samantha Cameron were at the reception, along with singer Peter Andre, BBC radio host Fearne Cotton, former “X Factor” U.K. finalist Stacey Solomon and BBC radio host Chris Moyles.