Dermot O'Leary returns 'home' to The X Factor

Gemma Strong

Dermot O'Leary has said he is "really looking forward" to returning to The X Factor, just one year after he left the ITV show. "I'm very flattered to be asked back, and am currently dusting off my dancing shoes," the 42-year-old said in a statement. "There is nothing more exciting than hosting live TV on a Saturday night.

"The show is naturally very close to my heart, after having hosted it for eight years. I'm excited to be back."

X Factor boss Simon Cowell added: "Dermot's back! Hooray! And so is his dancing. Welcome home Dermot."

dermot-VIEW GALLERY

Dermot O'Leary has confirmed his return to The X Factor

A source on the show told the Mirror that Dermot was touched by messages from fans saying they missed him last year, and as soon as it was confirmed that Olly Murs and Caroline Flack were leaving, he jumped at the chance to return.

He held final talks with Simon last week in LA, before signing on the dotted line. "Simon made it clear he missed Dermot like the fans, it makes sense for everyone for him to return and the show is now in safe hands. Dermot makes the live shows look easy."

Simon may well have taken some advice from Dermot about the upcoming series. Speaking back in January, Dermot suggested The X Factor might need to take a break, but also suggested bosses bring back the audition room - ITV have now confirmed that intimate room auditions will be making a comeback for this series.

"If I was Simon I'd probably take it off air for a year," Dermot said. "I'd rest it, and then I'd get back to the rooms.

"The room auditions are great. For me it was always room, arena, boot camp.

"Also, I was really uncomfortable about the Six-Chair Challenge. I don't think it's a particularly nice bit of television."