X Factor's Gary Barlow insists he's not mean, saying he's just "real" with hopefuls!

Gary Barlow 2011

New X Factor 2011 judge Gary Barlow has insisted that he's not a meanie on the show, but rather he and the rest of panel are simply "real" with the wannabe singers. Speaking ahead of the launch of The X Factor 2011 this Saturday, Gary added he was hoping that viewers took to the new line up.

This year sees Gary joined by fellow new judges Tulisa Contostavlos and Kelly Rowland on the panel, with the trio teaming up with long-term judge Louis Walsh on the new look show.

The Take That front man said: "I think the new judge line-up is going really well and working well. I'm really enjoying everyone's company.

"I hope viewers like the new line-up. It's totally different from the last one."

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And following reports from the auditions earlier this year that he was being a bit of a meanie to the hopefuls, Gary explained: "I don't think it's about dashing people's hopes, it's about being real with them, but if I've disliked a performance, I've told them that I didn't really enjoy it every much."

He added: "We have to be real with them."

Meanwhile with the first episode of the new series just a few days away from airing, Gary revealed has been finding working on the show "fascinating".

"So far I've found judging very interesting, I've always watched The X Factor and wondered how the auditions were done so it's been fascinating to sit on the panel and be part of them, I just found it really, really, interesting," he said.

Gary continued: "Every time someone walks on stage it's something completely different from the last person, so the variety is immense and there's not any point in the day where I think I've had enough of this show now."

And he confessed that the Northern cities this year have had some stand out stars.

"Liverpool and Manchester have been the stand out cities for me," he explained. "I think the fact the show has never done auditions in Liverpool before really brought out the best talent. Overall, there have been about ten acts which have really stood out for me."

The X Factor 2011 starts on August 20.

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