The X Factor Gets A Makeover! Simon Cowell Reveals 'Exciting Changes' As Auditions Go Back To Basics

Simon Cowell wants to go back to the early days in attempt to boost ratings

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The intimate audition stage was scrapped four years ago and X Factor contestants were forced to perform in front of the judges and a live audience - but this year, the TV talent show will be going back to its early days.

Because in an attempt to boost flagging ratings, boss Simon Cowell has ordered that the ITV show will return to auditioning wannabe pop stars in an intimate setting just in front of the judges, as they used to when the show began.

Contestants will have to sing a-ccapella without any backing tracks, but they will then have to face the live audience when they audition for a second time before the Boot Camp stage.

Cowell apparently made the request in order to bring viewers back to the show which lost two million last year.

X Factor boss Simon Cowell is bringing back the show's audition room stage which was scrapped in 2009 in an attempt to boost ratings (WENN)

"We can confirm the audition rooms will be returning to the X Factor as one of a number of exciting changes," a spokesman for the show said.

"Fans wanted changes this year - and we’re giving them what they want," added a senior source to The Sun. "The a-cappella auditions were classic X Factor and really gave the judges an insight into whether acts were any good.

"It also better showcased some of the weird and wacky people we get, whose performances got lost in the arena auditions. The plan is to have the best of both worlds."

Another source told the Mirror: "Some of the best moments ever on the show happened in those intimate auditions in front of the judges so we want to bring that back.

"Bigger isn’t always better and we hope to get more interaction with the judges and more poignant moments this way. There is also less pressure on singers in their first audition which could bring out the best and some new singers who were scared of auditioning in arenas."

The old audition format was scrapped in 2009 in an attempt make the show more of an event and it seemed to work well for a couple of years - the 2010 show finale, won by Matt Cardle won, drew in nearly 20 million viewers, an X Factor record.

But viewers soon started switching off and last year's final received the lowest ratings since 2005.

Do you think going back to the intimate audition stage is a good idea?

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Tulisa & Louis Walsh hit the town, Feb 16 (Photos: WENN)