Louis Walsh has swapped The X Factor for the judging panel of a talent contest in Blackpool - and he couldn't be happier about it

Former X Factor judge Louis Walsh has swapped the bright lights of the smash reality TV show for the judging panel at a talent contest in Blackpool.

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The Irish music maestro was the only original judge left on the ITV show until it was announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t be taking part in the new series.

And, despite saying he doesn’t miss the show ‘at all’, he is getting back to what he does best by joining the judging panel of Talent Fest UK, a nationwide talent search for singers, dancers, actors and performers of all ages.

The 63 year old – who has managed boybands Boyzone and Westlife – will act as Head Judge for the grand final, set to be held at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens on 26 and 27 September.

‘I’m really excited about judging Talent Fest UK,’ said Louis. ‘People ask me if I ever get fed up judging talent competitions, but to be honest, it’s in my blood and I absolutely love it.

‘Every day is different, and you never know who is going to walk in the door.’

He added: ‘I don’t miss X Factor at all. I’ve so many new exciting projects up my sleeve.

‘I’m looking for someone who not only has excellent talent, but with a great attitude and work ethic. Ideally, I’d love to find an artist like Tom Jones with a great soulful voice, or even the next Michael Bublé.

‘Who knows what talent Talent Fest UK will unveil, and it’s the not knowing and anticipation that excites me.’

Meanwhile, Talent Fest host Robin Elliot has claimed that the level of talent is ‘definitely on a par with Britain’s Got Talent finalists’.

Stephanie Wood