let it shine
Let It Shine launches on Saturday (7 January) BBC

We've only just got over the commotion that was The X Factor 2016, which saw former waiter Matt Terry take the crown – now Gary Barlow is launching his own talent show called Let It Shine.

Saturday night television is set to get competitive once again as the new singing competition launches on BBC1 on 7 January at 7pm – the same night The Voice UK returns on ITV – and they overlap by 25 minutes.

The new series set to rival The Voice is the BBC's "brand new Saturday night entertainment show" – and Barlow is said to be the brains behind the project. Over the course of eight weeks, the Take That singer and the other judges will search for five boys to create a band to star in a theatre production.

'So who will be the 'celebrity' judges?' we hear you mutter. Joining Barlow will be Martin Kemp and Danii Minogue, and for the first stage of the competition, Glee star Amber Riley will also be a judge on the panel. The guest judge is set to change for stages two and three, with Riley being replaced by Lulu in the second stage.

Lulu, 68, commented: "I have always loved working and sharing in the success story that is Take That. So the chance to bring my experience and knowledge of west end musicals, to help cast for a new show, feels a privilege and I am thrilled to do it."

The judge for the third stage in the live part of the competition is yet to be confirmed.

Who's hosting?

For those already missing Bake Off presenters Sue and Mel, you'll be half-pleased to know that Mel Giedroyc will be hosting the talent contest alongside chat show presenter Graham Norton.

Norton said of the launch: "The combination of the BBC, everyone's favourite band and Saturday nights made this an offer I simply couldn't refuse. If I wasn't a part of Let It Shine, I know I would be watching it at home – this way I just get the best seat in the house."

gary barlow
Let It Shine promises celebrity judges just like its rivals The X Factor and The Voice BBC

Giedroyc added: "This show brings together so many of the things I love – singing, dancing, Gary Barlow and Graham Norton. What's not to love? I can't wait to meet the singers and see the performances, which I know will be utterly spectacular. If you know someone who's got the moves, whether they already sing in the shower or on the stage, we want to see them."

In terms of how the show works, it isn't rocket science, but it has more to do with outer-space than other programmes. The judges can each award a singer a maximum of five stars after their performance, and the stars then light up on a 'Star Way'. In order to get through to the next round, the boys have to earn 15 stars or more. If they acquire less than 15, they're immediately booted out. 15 or more stars equates them getting through, however.


In terms of celebrities, Let It Shine most certainly isn't short of a few famous faces. Viewers will be treated to Take That members Mark Owen and Harold Donald on the show each week, according to Barlow.

He said: "Sure, yeah, absolutely. They're almost our spies backstage as well, because they're chatting with them [the contestants].

"They're obviously doing it for a TV purpose as well because it's really nice the stuff they're getting, the natural stuff before they come out and see the audience and us. But obviously it's their catalogue as well. We're all part of this and we want it to be amazing," he added.

On top of that, as the BBC have announced that Busted, Beverley Knight, Melanie C, Olly Murs and Kaiser Chiefs will perform with the hopefuls in stage two.

And the outcome will be great, as the five winning boys will get to tour the UK in a theatre production called The Band – which is a musical stage show featuring the music of Take That – and will get their careers on the road to success in the showbiz industry.

Tune in to Let It Shine on BBC1 at 7pm on Saturday 7 January.