ENTERTAINMENT

'The X Factor' Lowers Age Limit - 14-Year-Olds Can Now Audition For Simon Cowell And Cheryl Cole

04/04/2014 13:46 BST | Updated 04/04/2014 13:59 BST

'The X Factor' has lowered its age boundaries, allowing contestants as young as 14 to audition for the first time since 2008.

Show boss Simon Cowell has reportedly opted to change the lower age limit from 16 - where it has been for the past five years - in an attempt to draw in fresh talent for the show.

simon cowell

Simon Cowell gives younger contestants the thumbs up

A source told The Mirror: "Simon is keen to change the rules and shake things up and lowering the entry age will do that.

“He remembered in 2008 that Liam Payne auditioned and got to the judges' houses stage."

Liam, of course, re-auditioned two years later and became part of the boyband One Direction, who have since gone on to great international success.

Past contestants to have auditioned at a young age and been successful in the competition include Cher Lloyd, who was 16 when she auditioned for the show, and last year's runner-up Nicholas McDonald, who also auditioned at the age of 16.

That said, last year's winner Sam Bailey was the first time someone in the "Over 25s" category had won the show since Steve Brookstein was victorious in the very first series back in 2004.

The news that youngsters will once again be able to audition for the show is the latest in a long line of planned shakeups for the show when it returns to screens later this year, which kicked off with the announcement that past judges Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole would both be returning to the panel.

Meanwhile, it was reported last week that Simon intended to scrap the "boot camp" stage of the competition, in order to inject more drama into the show, and instead keep the "six-chair" challenge which proved so controversial last year.

A source told The Sun: "Simon thinks the boot camp process can drag on a bit and isn't very exciting.

"The plan is to axe it and just focus more on the six-chair challenge.

"Simon loves it — the drama and controversy is right up his street."

The auditions for the new series of 'The X Factor' kick off in Dublin this weekend.

The X Factor 2013 arena auditions - London

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