Dermot O'Leary says Gary Barlow is "the new Simon Cowell" on The X Factor

Dermot O'Leary

Host of The X Factor 2011 Dermot O'Leary has described 'head judge' Gary Barlow is "the new Simon Cowell", adding that ITV1's "gamble" of bringing in three new judges for the one series paid off. Speaking as the audition tour comes to a close next week, Dermot said the filming had - so far at least! - gone "fantastically".

This year's show sees Take That star Gary Barlow, US singer Kelly Rowland and N-Dubz lead performer N-Dubz all join the hit ITV1 reality series, following the exits of Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue.

"Barlow has taken Simon's role," Dermot said about the new look panel. "I'm backstage with the family so you have that moment where they're going, 'Did Gary Barlow just say that?'

"You expect him to say, 'thank you very much love I quite liked that' but he'll say, 'it was all going so well and then you started singing'."

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Dermot, who was snubbed for the hosting job on the US series of the show, admitted that it was a "gamble" to take on three new judges, but reckons the choice has paid off. "It's gone fantastically. It's a really good panel," the presenter said about the auditions.

He continued: "Gary has been majestic and presidential, and Kelly has this accent dipped in honey and she just sounds wonderful. When you hear her talk you realise she was one third of Destiny's Child and they were the world's biggest girl group.

"And of course Tulisa has been in the industry since she was 11."

The X Factor 2011 will return to ITV1 this August.

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