Gary Barlow has spoken about X Factor 2012 having a dark atmosphere for him.

The singer told The Mirror, "There was something about last year. I didn't feel finished. It was a strange show."

He is now in his third year of judging the show and while he loved his first season, the second was a totally different experience. "Last year was a bit different. I'd had a personal thing which took me out of the whole space of the show."

Barlow lost his fourth child Poppy last year.

"By the time I got back into it, it had left me. And I felt that the studios were quite dark, everyone was very competitive."

He added, "When the show finished I was like, 'I don't want this to be my last year'."

Barlow is the lead judge on the talent show and is joined by last year's judges Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh and the returning judge Sharon Osbourne.

"I'm quite new to TV. It's interesting watching Mrs O. - she just turns up and you're getting what she is, but it's hard to be like that on TV."

Barlow also spoke about getting used to people criticising his decisions, "We're protected so much as artists. I've had years of having ten people stood round me. Then when we come on this show we're fair game for everybody. There's nowhere to hide. We get loved and hated all in the first five minutes so you've just got to let your guard down and be part of it."

After Barlow's Rylan drama last year he said he's going to be more easy going this time round, "Coming back this year I think I'll probably be a bit more relaxed, knowing the public will make the right decision."