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Gary Barlow announced as the first returning Judging for the 2012 series of The X Factor.

The Take That star and five times recipient of the Ivor Novello award winner for songwriting, joined the judging panel in 2011 mentoring his artists and Marcus Collins to the live final.

Gary Barlow says: “I’m thrilled to be back and really looking forward to working with The X Factor team again. The fact that a superstar could just walk out on that stage is very exciting.”

Simon Cowell says: “It’s great to be able to confirm our first judge for this year’s show. Gary has earned his place and I’m excited to be working with him again.”

Peter Fincham, ITV’s Director of Television, says:  “Gary quickly established himself as a key member of The X Factor judging panel, drawing on his years of experience in the music industry to help in the search for our undiscovered singing stars.  I’m thrilled to welcome him back to the biggest show on British television.”

Richard Holloway, Director of Entertainment, Thames, says: “Gary brings his vast music expertise, his fabulous character and down-to-earth approach to the show and audiences adore him so we are absolutely delighted that he’s coming back.”

Siobhan Greene, Head of TV, Syco Entertainment Ltd, says: “We’re all so excited to have Gary back on the judging panel. Gary has a wealth of experience and knowledge of the music industry and the viewers loved him. We’re looking forward to an exciting year ahead.”

The X Factor Judges Auditions Tour starts later in the spring, with the main show returning to ITV1 later in the summer, 2012.