Louis Walsh thinks "fantastic" new X Factor 2011 panel will surprise viewers

X Factor 2011 judges

Louis Walsh has revealed that he thinks the new X Factor 2011 judging line up will surprise viewers when the show returns to telly screens later this year. Louis, the only remaining member of last year's panel, will be joined on the show by Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Kelly Rowland.

Speaking to Alan Carr on Channel 4's Chatty Man, Louis explained: "It’s fantastic, it's absolutely fantastic. The new judges bring a new energy to the show. Everyone is going to be so surprised. That Kelly Rowland, she's on fire. Then we've got Tulisa from N-Dubz, we've Gary Barlow from Take That"

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Following reports that Gary Barlow had been offending contestants with bitchy comments, Louis insisted: "He's doing the Simon role, he's being very honest with people.

"If someone's rubbish you've got to them so but in a nice way, singing's not for you, and that's what Gary does."

Louis added: "I think everyone is going to be so surprised at how well the judges are working and how good the talent is. It’s going to be a big season, it could be our biggest.

"When I get my categories this year I’m going to win, I want to win."

> Gary Barlow told to stop being so nasty... here's his latest harsh putdowns!

Meanwhile the Irish music mogul confessed to missing the old judges, telling Carr: "I miss them all, Dannii worked really hard on the show and Cheryl... she was Simon's pet!

"I love them all but I miss Simon the most because he would always wind me up and i was always the punch bag for him, every season... but we are really good friends!"

The X Factor 2011 returns to ITV1 in August.

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