The X Factor 2012: Louis Walsh confirms he will return as judge

The show's only remaining original judge will take his place on the panel for the ninth year this autumn

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X Factor veteran Louis Walsh will return to the programme’s judging panel this autumn.

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Walsh, who has been a mainstay of the show since its first series was broadcast in 2004, is the second judge to be confirmed for this year’s series of the talent show, the first being Gary Barlow, whose return was announced last month.

59-year-old said Louis said: “I’m back! It’s my ninth year on the show and as the only remaining original judge I’m delighted to take my seat once more on the judging panel.”

During last year’s live shows Walsh cast doubt about his future on the programme saying he “didn’t know” whether he would return in 2012, but the show’s creator, Simon Cowell, claims he can’t imagine The X Factor without Walsh.

Cowell said: “The show wouldn’t be the same without Louis, I am really happy he is coming back. I hope he has an opportunity this year to show what an astute manager he is.”

In addition to being known as the X Factor’s longest-serving judge, Walsh is a music mogul who masterminded the careers of Boyzone, Westlife, Jedward and JLS.

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The Judges Audition Tour will start this spring, and artists who wish to apply to appear on this year’s X Factor can do so until Tuesday 8 May via Facebook.