The awkward moment wasn’t lost on viewers.
On the BBC talent show Gary is looking for male singers to star in stage musical, The Band, which is based on the songs of Take That. However, as Gary told contestant Dan Budd, he’s not looking for singers who resemble the actual band members.
Wearing a blue Robbie-style suit and sporting a black quiff, Dan auditioned with Robbie’s 1998 single ‘No Regrets’, which he wrote about quitting Take That. The song contains the lyric, ‘I guess the love we once had is officially dead,’ aimed at his former bandmates.
After his audition Gary told him: “You are amazing impersonator, you really are and it’s unbelievable how much you sound and look like Rob. But we are trying to create this musical and at no point do I want band members to be named.”
“I want the music to celebrated with an entirely new story,” he continued. “So by having someone that looks identical to Robbie, it’s going against everything I’m trying to do. It’s a case of whether we can de-Robbie you.”
Dan was awarded just three points by Gary, while his fellow judges Danni Minogue, Martin Kemp and Amber Riley, scored him either five or four points. "I got my scoring wrong," Gary later admitted. "I've had more time to think about it and I should have given you a five, I should have.”
On Twitter viewers were quick to point out the awkwardness of the encounter. “Kind of awkward that a Robbie Williams lookalike is singing the song Robbie wrote about hating Take That to Gary Barlow. #LetItShine," tweeted on viewer.
Another added: “Gary Barlow's very obvious Robbie Williams inferiority complex though #LetItShine." While a third wrote: “Robbie Williams tribute act on Shine! Gary Barlow hates the real Robbie never mind this one.”
Kind of awkward that a Robbie Williams lookalike is singing the song Robbie wrote about hating Take That to Gary Barlow. #LetItShine— Daz Gale (@dazgale) January 21, 2017
Gary Barlow's very obvious Robbie Williams inferiority complex though <3 <3 <3 #LetItShine— Ariadne Griffin (@Ariadne_Griffin) January 21, 2017