Gary Barlow has admitted he is “disappointed” Cheryl Cole is no longer part of the X Factor as he arrived for the first day of auditions.
The Take That singer has been drafted in to replace Simon Cowell as a mentor and judge on the hit ITV show.
And last year’s female judges Dannii Minogue and Cheryl have both been replaced, with Kelly Rowland and Tulisa Contostavlos the new additions.
Cowell is focusing on launching the X Factor in the USA, and had taken Cheryl with him as one of the panel members.
But the Girls Aloud singer was replaced by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger part-way through the audition stage after failing to convince show bosses.
ITV offered her a return to the UK version of the show but she did not get back on board.
And pal Gary admits he would love to have worked with her, but is sure Kelly and Tulisa will win fans.
He said: “I sent Cheryl some texts just saying ‘Sending support’. She’s a good friend of mine. I’m disappointed she’s gone.
“The other two girls are going to be great.”
But he is not sure Cowell will be missed so much. He joked: “It was time he went anyway, he’s been on it too much.”