Louis Walsh is an Irish entertainment manager and former judge on British television talent show The X Factor. Originally from Kiltimagh, County Mayo, Walsh moved to Dublin to get a start in the music industry. He managed Johnny Logan, Boyzone and Westlife, three of Ireland’s most successful pop artists in the 1990s and 2000s. In later life, Walsh began an alternative career as a television talent pundit and personality.
He was a judge on The X Factor since the show’s inception in 2004 until 2017 (with the exception of 2015). He has mentored the Groups category six times and the Overs category three times. He was the winning judge of the show’s second series, mentoring Shayne Ward. He has also appeared on You’re a Star, Popstars and Popstars: The Rivals. Walsh has also guest judged on Britain’s Got Talent a number of times and on The X Factor USA in 2012. He is also the creator of, and currently a judge on, Ireland’s Got Talent, which first aired on 3 February 2018.
In the 1990s, Walsh decided to create an Irish version of Take That, which the papers picked up on when Walsh advertised the open auditions. The band created was Boyzone, whom Walsh managed to international success achieving 16 top three singles, six of which were number ones, as well as four number one albums, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide. When Ronan Keating announced he wanted to take a break from Boyzone, Walsh continued to manage his career.
Keating achieved a number one hit with When You Say Nothing At All in 1999 and also Life Is a Rollercoaster in 2000, while his album sold 4.4 million copies. Keating and Walsh later agreed to part company as Keating’s solo career reached an all-time high. Walsh then went back to the boy band formula to create Westlife, which Keating co-managed with Walsh for the first couple of Westlife‘s number one singles and albums.
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Watch Louis on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, here: