Gary Barlow says he’s ‘thrilled’ to be returning to his position as head of The X Factor’s judging panel for a second year.

Gary said: “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.”

Gary was joined by Tulisa, Kelly Rowland and Louis Walsh in the latest series, but he’s the only judge confirmed to appear when the show kicks off in the summer.

X Factor boss Simon Cowell said: “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.”

Last year’s X Factor saw girl group Little Mix triumph, the first time in the programme’s history a group has won. Their debut single, Cannonball, went to number one and they are expected to release their debut album later this year.

The X Factor recently completed its open auditions tour of six major UK cities, but hopeful singers can apply to be on the show through Facebook, by uploading their audition videos through the social networking site to the official X Factor Facebook page up until May 8.