“The X Factor” U.K. judge Gary Barlow has confirmed rumors that he was seriously thinking about quitting the show.
Barlow joined “The X Factor” U.K. in May 2011. From late 2011 to early 2012, there was rampant speculation that Barlow would choose not to renew his contract, since he hinted in interviews he might not have time to do the show for another year. There have also been reports that “The X Factor” executive producer Simon Cowell wanted to fire Barlow because Cowell thinks Barlow is too boring as an “X Factor” judge. Cowell was reportedly overruled by bosses at ITV, the U.K. network for the show, because the ITV executives wanted to keep Barlow as an “X Factor” judge.
Barlow told The Sun: “When you become part of this machine, you’re on something that’s moving and you’ve got to try and stay on board. There’s no jumping off. There’s a lot of pressure – it really is massive. I remember last year – on Sunday nights in particular – if I knew one of them was in the bottom two, I’d feel so nervous. And you’d watch this spaceship swirling around knowing that millions of people are watching and it was out of your hands, and you’d just feel sorry for them.
“I just want to have more fun this year – and I have done already. I was on tour while we were doing the auditions last year and it was bloody hard work. I always felt miserable when I arrived because I was knackered already. But this year I don’t feel like I’ve done anything yet! It’s been fun.”
Barlow mentored the Boys category (male solo singers ages 16 to 25) in 2011. He’s mentoring the Overs category (solo singers ages 28 and over) in 2012.
He commented on the Overs category: “I’m excited. I think for too many years this category has been a bit of a joke. I used to call it the ‘over and outs.’ But I had my eye on this category. They know who they want to be as artists.
In another interview with the Daily Mirror, Barlow said of the “X Factor” pressure he felt in 2011: “Yeah. It was hard, yeah, yeah. If I’m really honest, I’m not really a fan of hard work. There’s a lot of pressure, it really is massive.
“Last year, I’d sit down feeling so nervous. I was on tour while we were doing the auditions last year and it was hard work. I always felt miserable when I arrived because I was knackered.
“This year, I’ve enjoyed the bad ones more than the good ones. I’m almost disappointed when they come out and they’re good. I hope to be a bit lighter this year.”
Barlow, who is a founding member of Take That, says that being an “X Factor’ judge has brought him a new level of fame: “I’ve always been fairly famous, but there’s no question that this show has taken that to a new level. You get this whole new group of people who know your face. You have to be prepared for everyone coming up to you – more than when Take That was at its absolute height.”