X Factor 2012: Interview with Gary Barlow – He loved Mel B’s one liners, criticised last year’s finalists but doesn’t feel intimidated by The Voice
Life has never been busier for Gary Barlow. Starting his second year as an X Factor judge, the award winning singer songwriter and Take That frontman also organised the successful Diamond Jubilee Concert for Her Majesty The Queen, performed at the Olympic closing ceremony and has recently been awarded an OBE. One of the UK’s most successful songwriters he’s had a string of number one singles and albums both solo and in the band, so X Factor hopefuls know they are in capable hands.
What makes The X Factor the best singing show on TV?
Everyone gets a chance to be on the show – from every walk of life and any age from 16 upwards. With no limits on who can enter we get a great cross section of people. It’s a weekly event in people’s homes now – it’s more than a TV show which makes it a shared experience that everyone talks about and has an opinion on.
What are you going to do to make sure this year’s series is better than ever before?
The key to this is finding the best talent at the auditions. The only way you can ever improve these shows year in and year out is to make the talent better and better because ultimately that’s what people tune in for.
What is the talent like this year?
I think it’s been extraordinary this year. Everybody thinks so. I have even heard cameramen saying to each other that it’s such a massive improvement on last year. The standard has definitely gone up a few notches. I think the audience is going to love it.
What are you going to do differently this year?
Yes, I should have enjoyed it more. It’s one of my goals this time to sit up there and remember to be a member of the audience because it’s a brilliant show to watch and I have the best seat in the house! I have seat 1A to watch this amazing show from, so I want to savour that this year.
Who are the ‘ones to watch’ this year?
The category to watch is the Overs. The Overs category hasn’t been taken that seriously in the last few years but it has turned into the biggest contender this year. The standard is superb.
What’s going to be your secret weapon to make sure that you keep all your acts the longest?
It’s hard to know that because you don’t know who you’re going to be working with, but one thing I noticed about last year is that some of the acts take
to being in The X Factor environment like ducks to water and they just thrive on it. Every week they come back better and better whilst there are others
that just get worse each week, taking the criticism badly and finding it hard to move forward. So if you can pick characters in your category that you know
can deal with that environment.
What one piece of advice would you give to those who will go forward to the Live Shows?
The X Factor is like every other side of our business. It requires a lot of hard work, most of which the audience don’t see. The performance on a Saturday night is the gift after a week of hard work: ‘you’ve done all this work and here’s your prize – you get to go on stage and perform’.
The rest of it is all hard work – interviews, being filmed, working out your song, practicing your song and working out how you will translate it to the audience. I think a lot of them get a shock. They all arrive thinking they only have to work on a Saturday night so it’s a sharp wake-up call when it’s not!
Which category would you like to mentor?
I think you can guess from everything I have said so far! The Overs, but if not them, then the Girls category.
What was your favourite moment from last year’s series?
The Live Final at Wembley Arena, because all of a sudden I became a member of the audience, sat there watching this massive event unfold in front of my eyes. I thought how lucky I was to be a part of it. It was an amazing end to a brilliant series.
Do you have any highlights/funny moments from any of the Guest Judges?
Mel B was great and she had a few one liners…I think her finest moment was when an elderly contestant was on stage and her critique was ‘Nooooo…just Nooo’ [Gary in Leeds accent].
Do you feel more pressure now from other shows who are finding new talent?
No I don’t and I think if there was any pressure it’s been dealt with as the talent we have seen this year has been unbelievable. I‘m so pleased as that was
my one complaint of last year – I thought we were missing four or five better singers in our final 12. But this year is going to be amazing and the first live show is going to be unbelievable. We have all different types of singers as well so it’s going to be hard for viewers to choose who to vote for.
How are you getting on with Tulisa and Louis second time round?
I got on well with them last year. We all tease each other which is part of the fun of the show. You can’t be too sensitive on here, you have to be ready to be
teased regularly. No-one takes it personally and no-one takes it off the stage so it’s all good fun. On the tour I encouraged the audience to boo Louis which he didn’t seem to mind so I might try it again on the live shows!
Are you pleased that Nicole Scherzinger has joined the panel?
Yes, really pleased. She’s amazing – she feels like a Hollywood star. With all her experience in the industry and as a Judge on the US X Factor she has definitely earned her place on this.
The X Factor returns this Saturday night on ITV1. Are you excited about seeing Gary again? Leave your comments below….
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