Everything changes: Simon Cowell admits Gary Barlow may not return as an X Factor judge
Despite managing to guide one of his acts into the grand final and finishing as a runner-up on last year's X Factor, Gary Barlow may not return to the ITV1 show.
Music mogul and X Factor supremo Simon Cowell admitted that although Gary was a firm favourite with fans he might not be able to return this year because of his busy schedule.
Cowell said that the 41-year-old will have a lot on his plate this year with his day job being a member of Take That.
Busy boy: Gary Barlow may not return to The X Factor this year because of Take That commitments
He told the Sun: 'This show takes over your life, it is not a two day a week show.'
Take That are planning to release a new album and in order to promote it Gary would need to be with the band a lot of the time travelling up and down the country and through Europe.
Simon said to the newspaper: 'I always thought that with Gary he would have the Take That commitment in 2012.
Rain man: Simon Cowell says the X Factor is time consuming
'But there has to be a certain amount of unpredictability with this show, it is what keeps people interested.'
According to reports, all of the new judges found the show very time consuming last year and were surprised by how much it took over their lives.
The 2011 series of X Factor UK – with new judges Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Kelly Rowland joining Louis Walsh – found itself being regularly beaten in the ratings war by BBC rival Strictly Come Dancing.
Despite in-fighting between the judges and controversy surrounding contestant Frankie Cocozza, the series averaged 14.13million viewers, with 15.5million tuning in to watch Little Mix crowned the winners.
However, the previous year, a record 19.4million watched Matt Cardle beat Rebecca Ferguson to the crown.
He told The Sun: 'I got a bit too cocky. We got a big wake-up call.
'We went into 2011 thinking, ''It's all going to be easy'' and of course it wasn't. It was the year my ego was put in check.'
Fighting talk: Gary Barlow and Louis Walsh became sparring partners on the show