X-Factor judge Gary Barlow has said he was ''shocked'' when viewers chose North-East singer James Arthur to win last year's show.
The Take That star said the vote was proof that a ''novelty act'' will never win the hit ITV singing show, which returns later this month.
"I was quite shocked that James Arthur won last time, not because he wasn't the best but because he is the best and was the best," he said.
"I assumed a TV voting audience wouldn't vote for someone like that and they did - it really shows me that the right person will win this competition each time.''
Arthur, from Saltburn, east Cleveland, whose debut single sold more than a million copies, releases his album later this year.
The new series starts at 8pm on Saturday on ITV1.
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