Louis Walsh has announced he is quitting The X Factor after 13 years on the show. The Irish entertainment manager, who was the longest-running judge on the show, said he was "ready to leave" when the news was confirmed on Thursday.
" 'I've had a fantastic 13 years on The X Factor but the show needs a change and I'm ready to leave," Louis said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to another series of Ireland's Got Talent, going back to my day job as a manager, writing my memoirs and seeing the world!"
Louis Walsh has confirmed he is quitting the X Factor
Following Louis' exit, fellow judge Sharon Osbourne will be taking on a different role in the upcoming series. Although she will still be on the judging panel, she will only be present for the live shows, a change she says she loves. "I can't wait to get back to the judges' desk. I love the new format," she said.
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Simon Cowell will also be returning to the show along with three new judges, who are expected to be announced soon. Thames Managing Director, Amelia Brown, said: " Louis has been a huge part of The X Factor’s success since it launched and remains a good friend of the show. His contribution cannot be overstated. We would like to thank him for all he has given to the show over the years and look forward to continuing to work with him in the future."
Louis was the longest-running judge on the show
She added: "This is the start of a new era for The X Factor. I am really excited about all the ideas we have for the coming series including, of course, the new judging panel."
The show is making major changes after struggling in the ratings battle against Strictly Come Dancing last year. The first part of the 2017 final received the lowest ratings in the show's history, with 4.4 million viewers - down 1.1million from the previous year. Meanwhile, Strictly Come Dancing attracted 9.9 million viewers on the same night.