After, understandably, missing the press launch of this year’s X Factor, grieving Gary Barlow has said that this year’s amazing show would help him and his devastated family come to terms with the tragic loss of their youngest daughter, Poppy, who was born still-born, a few weeks ago.
Barlow, who has three other children with wife Dawn, said that his clan would all be sat together watching tomorrow night’s launch show, and, as they struggle to come to terms with what has happened, will take some comfort in what Barlow has described as an “amazing” series of the hit ITV talent show.
Gary, who will be featured in tomorrow night’s show, which is a pre-recorded montage of audition clips, sent a message paying tribute to fans and people who have shown him support through this incredibly difficult time.
He said: “Thanks for all the support. I’ll be watching the show at home on Saturday with my family and I know you’re going to love it.
“The talent is amazing this year and I’m looking forward to working with and mentoring my acts at judges’ homes and on the live shows.”
His fellow judges, Louis Walsh, Tulisa Contostavlos and Nicole Scherzinger, were all in attendance at the swish launch yesterday, held in the Corinthia Hotel in Central London, as were host Dermot O’Leary, Xtra Factor presenter Caroline Flack and singer Sinitta, the ex-girlfriend of show boss Simon Cowell.
Speaking of Barlow’s absence, Walsh commented that the judges had been in touch with Gary “all the time” following his tragic news, and Tulisa added:
“Right now we are respecting his privacy but he knows our thoughts are with him.”
Tomorrow night’s launch show, which is expected to be watched by around 10million viewers, will show guest judge, Mel B who helped out in the audition stages whilst bosses of the show were trying to find a last minute replacement for Kelly Rowland’s position after former X Factor judge, Dannii Minogue, turned down the job at the 11th hour.
Speaking of the Spice Girl, Nicole admitted: “She is pretty scary.” Tulisa added: “There are going to be moments. You either love her or hate her on the show.”
The judges also went on to say how they consider this series to be the strongest to date, due in part to the fact that contestants who were already entered into a management contract were now allowed to take part. This decision caused quite a lot of controversy, with many fans of the show branding this new rule unfair to the hopefuls taking part without previous experience.
Tulisa said: “Just because they have managers it doesn’t mean it’s easier for them to make it.”
Whilst Gary said earlier this week: “The standard has definitely gone up a few notches.”
The new series of The X Factor begins at 8pm tomorrow night on ITV1/ITV1 HD.