X Factor judge Louis Walsh has launched an astonishing attack on fellow panellist Gary Barlow, accusing him of “taking the money and running”.
According to the Sunday Mirror Louis is said to have told friends that he believes Gary is no longer treating the show as a priority, due to his focus on his music career.
“I’ve sussed him out. He’s taking the mickey,” the Irish mogul reportedly told associates.
And while the pair may still exchange friendly banter onscreen, show insiders told the paper that offscreen it was a very different story.
“Louis is being quite open about his thoughts on Gary,” one source explained. “He thinks he’s only really concerned about looking after number one.
“Louis complains that Gary has been leaving the studio pretty sharpish after filming.
“He thinks some of the other judges are spending a lot more time nurturing their acts each week.
The insider added that Louis was also upset by Gary’s plans to perform with Elton John during the final, saying it “confirmed his belief that Gary was thinking ahead to the days he has finished as an X Factor judge.”
A source close to Gary, meanwhile, hinted that Louis’ latest gripes were nothing new.
“It sounds from this that Louis is just up to his old tricks again by getting competitive and upping the ante,” the insider said.
A spokesman told the paper that “all the judges enjoy spending time with their contestants and mentoring them.”
Gary has just one remaining act – trio Rough Copy – left in the competition, while Louis has yet to lose an act from Nicholas MacDonald, Sam Callahan and Luke Friend.
The results of this weekend’s big band themed show will be revealed on Sunday night from 8pm.