One of Ronan’s X Factor finalists, Taylor Henderson. Jai Waetford, 14, is also competing with Ronan as his coach.

X Factor recap: final three decidedDami Im returns to her former school

Ronan Keating, the longest serving judge and mentor on Seven’s ratings champion The X Factor, may add an additional shock moment to Monday night’s grand finale by announcing his departure from the show after four seasons.

The 36-year-old Irish crooner, who has enjoyed more than two decades of international success as a recording artist, both in the boyband Boyzone and as a solo performer, recently tasted life as a film star in the Australian film Goddess.

In doing so Keating fulfilled a long-held ambition, and it is his cinema aspirations that may force him to leave the hit talent show if he is forced to choose between a new movie project and returning for a fifth season of The X Factor.

“I’ve got an offer for a film in the spring next year in Europe,” Keating told Fairfax on Wednesday. “That’s the conflict I have at the moment, so I’m just trying to make that work.”

Asked whether he might confirm his plans on Monday night’s show, Keating merely suggested “we’ll see”. “We’ll have to wait and see. Wait until I finalise everything.”

Before his incredibly successful X Factor season had even begun, Keating acknowledged the pressure of his expanding work commitments, and his desire to spend more time with his children, aged eight, 12 and 14, as well as his girlfriend, Australian model Storm Uechtritz.

Now he has become a victim of his own success. Keating’s workload has been much higher in comparison to previous seasons on the show, and now in the middle of what he describes as a “mental week” he may have to make a very difficult decision.

“It’s been a really crazy year for me, to be honest, because I’ve been making a Boyzone album in my downtime here in Sydney. And also I have my charity ball. So I haven’t had any time really to relax and enjoy Australia this time, so that’s been pretty hectic.”

He is quick to highlight that his potential exit is no reflection of his experience making The X Factor.

“I love the show,” he enthuses. “I love working with the team, I love the people. I wouldn’t change a thing really.”

For the first time this year Keating is mentoring two of the three grand finalists, which has only added to his workload.

“It’s very difficult,” Keating admits. “You give everything but you’ve got to work with two contestants, not let one feel you’re working harder on the other and vice versa. So you’ve got to give as much as you can to both.

“Then when you’ve got someone as fantastic as Dami [Im] on the other side it’s very difficult. She is definitely the favourite at the moment. So I’m working very, very hard to get one of my boys across the line first.”

Keating has been a mentor on The X Factor since 2010, when he guided Altiyan Childs to win the competition, and is the last remaining judge from the first season on Seven.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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