Gary Barlow has revealed that the talent on this year’s X Factor is better than ever – and said he will step up his efforts to find the best acts around after admitting he could have enjoyed last year more.

Speaking before the tragic death of his baby daughter Poppy last weekend, the Take That singer and show judge said he would be focusing more on his contestants this year and helping them to give great performances every week.

“It’s one of my goals to sit up there and remember to be a member of the audience,” he said. It’s a brilliant show to watch and I have the best seat in the house.

“I want to savour that this year. 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.”

“The standard has definitely gone up a few notches. I think the audience is going to love it,” he added.

Gary also said that the standard of this year’s acts has laid to rest his fears about the show, following last year when he mentored Frankie Cocozza – later booted off the show by producers – and accused him of being “cocky”.

“I think if there was any pressure it’s been dealt with. The talent we have seen this year has been unbelievable.

Gary is expected to join his Take That bandmates at Sunday night’s Olympic closing ceremony, in spite of the recent tragic loss of his daughter. Sources close to him have said he is “determined” to perform.

The X Factor will return to screens next Saturday night at 8pm, featuring Gary, Tulisa, Louis Walsh and new judge Nicole Scherzinger.