X Factor to allow managed acts -- Gary
X Factor bosses are changing the rules to the contest to allow acts who already have managers.
In the past, hopefuls were barred from entering the ITV1 show if they already had management deals, but Gary Barlow -- who confirmed he is still in talks to return to the show -- let slip today that the show will be open to all.
During last year's contest, a group of wannabes called The Mend were dropped from the competition when it emerged they were already had representation.
He told listeners to Radio 2's breakfast show: "They're letting people apply that already have managers. They're hoping for a more developed artist and a more developed group, if they have management."
Auditions are due to begin next Saturday in Liverpool as the process swings into action once more, visiting the first of six cities.
Show bosses confirmed that anyone aged 16 and above can enter, whether they are "an amateur artist, have had a management deal in the past or have one now".
Richard Holloway, the managing director of Thames TV, said: "We want to find the best talent the country has to offer and we're not stopping until we find a global superstar.
"The change in rules means we won't miss out on any talent that wish to enter."
It brings the show into line with Simon Cowell's other prime series Britain's Got Talent.
Auditions will also take place in Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow and London, as well as returning to Newcastle for the first time in several years.
Wannabes can also make video applications, with further details at www.itv.com/xfactor.