'It's NOT a reaction to ratings!' Defiant Simon Cowell explains X Factor's format shake-up as he BANS 'boring' past contestants and pokes fun of Nicole Scherzinger's 'romance' in exciting first look

Earlier this summer it was reported that Simon Cowell had made some changes in the The X Factor in order to shake off stiff ratings competition with arch rival, Strictly Come Dancing. 

And in the first look of the singing competition's 14th series, the music mogul, 57, has explained the change in format - namely less live shows - as he hit back at claims that it was due to 'low ratings.'

It was also unveiled in the judging panel's official show interviews that Cowell had poked fun at Nicole Scherzinger for a budding romance with a contestant - despite her being in a relationship with Grigor Dimitrov.

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'We can't make the same show every year': In the first look of The X Factor's upcoming series, Simon Cowell, 57, has explained the change in format - namely less live shows - as he hit back at claims that it was due to 'low ratings'

'We can't make the same show every year': In the first look of The X Factor's upcoming series, Simon Cowell, 57, has explained the change in format - namely less live shows - as he hit back at claims that it was due to 'low ratings'

Explaining the shake-up of the show - which also has Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh as confirmed judges, Simon admitted: 'When you’ve done it for 14 years you can’t keep making the same show every year. 

'I think you have to realise what the contestants are in it for, why do so many people enter? I think if you just make the same show each year it becomes boring and predictable.'

He continued to reason: 'So you try and make changes for the better, not everything works but some ideas we’ve got for the live shows are going to be good.

'There are less live shows, which has come as surprise to many and some have said that it’s a reaction to ratings. 

Explaining the shake-up of the show - which also has Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger as confirmed judges, Simon admitted: 'You try and make changes for the better, not everything works but some ideas we’ve got for the live shows are going to be good'

Explaining the shake-up of the show - which also has Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger as confirmed judges, Simon admitted: 'You try and make changes for the better, not everything works but some ideas we’ve got for the live shows are going to be good'

Ratings war: This comes after it was reported that Simon had made some changes in The X Factor in order to shake off stiff ratings competition with arch rival, Strictly Come Dancing

Ratings war: This comes after it was reported that Simon had made some changes in The X Factor in order to shake off stiff ratings competition with arch rival, Strictly Come Dancing

'What was the thinking behind that decision? I just think it’s the way things are in all these shows at the moment. The early and middle rounds rate well.

'So, the idea is to do more of the middle shows and less of the live shows. We’ll see if it works,' he explained his decision. 

Nicole also praised his decision to shake up the show: 'The change in the number of live shows is just one of the ways Simon plans to freshen up the series this year, are you excited by what he has planned?'

She enthusiastically continued: 'I love all the changes he’s making. You have to in this day and age, things are moving so fast over social media, you have to be changing with the times. 

Nicole

Nicole also praised his decision to shake up the show: 'The change in the number of live shows is just one of the ways Simon plans to freshen up the series this year, are you excited by what he has planned?'

'He gave me an in-depth look into his soul': While Nicole is currently loving life with her beau Grigor, it was also noted that Cowell has been winding her up about a possibility of a romance with a contestant

'He gave me an in-depth look into his soul': While Nicole is currently loving life with her beau Grigor, it was also noted that Cowell has been winding her up about a possibility of a romance with a contestant

She cheekily confessed: 'The lyrics were something like, ‘Hoes, boats, Gucci, Prada, selfies with the hotties’. I got to know him a lot more after that song'

She cheekily confessed: 'The lyrics were something like, ‘Hoes, boats, Gucci, Prada, selfies with the hotties’. I got to know him a lot more after that song'

Fun: Auditions were also held at Thorpe Park

Fun: Auditions were also held at Thorpe Park

'You have to evolve. We’re evolving as a show, we want to give the people what they want!'

And while Nicole is currently loving life with her beau Grigor, it was also noted that Cowell has been winding her up about a possibility of a romance with a contestant.

The former Pussycat Doll - who stunned in a sexy white semi-sheer suit for the first look photograph - revealed: 'Oh, gosh! Danny Lambo. He’s nicknamed himself that because he has three Lamborghinis. He’s a self-made multimillionaire, as he says. 

'He is definitely a very different character. He came to us singing an original song which really gave me an in-depth look into his soul. It was titled ‘Playboys’. 

'The lyrics were something like, ‘Hoes, boats, Gucci, Prada, selfies with the hotties’. I got to know him a lot more after that song,' she cheekily confessed. 

Earlier this month it was claimed by The Sun on Sunday that: 'This year 'X Factor' will air on Saturdays and Sundays from the start. It looks likely that the final will be in early December.'

Earlier this month it was claimed by The Sun on Sunday that: 'This year 'X Factor' will air on Saturdays and Sundays from the start. It looks likely that the final will be in early December'

Earlier this month it was claimed by The Sun on Sunday that: 'This year 'X Factor' will air on Saturdays and Sundays from the start. It looks likely that the final will be in early December'

Arch nemesis: In comparison, it's ratings rival Strictly will be on air with its live shows until the middle of December

Arch nemesis: In comparison, it's ratings rival Strictly will be on air with its live shows until the middle of December

'It’s everyone’s reputation on the line': Sharon also couldn't contain her enthusiasm for the new series of X Factor - but admitted that she was 'tougher' this year

'It’s everyone’s reputation on the line': Sharon also couldn't contain her enthusiasm for the new series of X Factor - but admitted that she was 'tougher' this year

Dazzle like Sharon in a dress by Alexander McQueen

Doesn’t Sharon Osbourne look fabulous in these campaign images for the 14th series of The X Factor?

Her beautiful gown is from the Alexander McQueen Resort 2017 collection. Featuring all-over coloured embellishment, the dazzling number trails across the floor, creating an incredibly glamorous look

This dress is actually made from sheer tulle, so Sharon has added a black slip underneath – but it looks just as showstopping!

Unfortunately this dress isn’t available, but don’t worry! We’ve found the next best thing(s) in our edit below. With luxury buys from Temperley, Needle & Thread, Marchesa and Jovani, you’re sure to find something you love.

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The insider also revealed to the publication: 'We'll have more pre-recorded shows, but fewer live shows, so the series will air for fewer weeks than before.'

In comparison, it's ratings rival Strictly will be on air with its live shows until the middle of December. 

Meanwhile, Sharon also couldn't contain her enthusiasm for the new series of X Factor - but admitted that she was 'tougher' this year.  

'It’s everyone’s reputation on the line when you are sat there. When you’re backing someone, like backing a three legged horse, it’s your reputation up there too at the end of the day.

Excited: Louis also revealed: 'I think we’ve got better talent this year than for many years actually. It’s so much better than last year; I think there’s talent in every category'

Meanwhile, Louis revealed: 'I think we’ve got better talent this year than for many years actually. It’s so much better than last year; I think there’s talent in every category'

Ready to go: Louis continued: 'There are some great personalities. We’ve found more talented people with more originality'

Louis continued: 'There are some great personalities. We’ve found more talented people with more originality'

Leaving them behind: The Irishmen also confessed that there weren't many joke acts this year 

Leaving them behind: The Irishmen also confessed that there weren't many joke acts this year 

'I’ve done my fair share of extreme characters, I just can’t do it again,' she admitted. 

Meanwhile, Louis revealed: 'I think we’ve got better talent this year than for many years actually. It’s so much better than last year; I think there’s talent in every category. 

'There are some great personalities. We’ve found more talented people with more originality. So there aren’t any joke acts this year  

The X Factor returns to ITV on Saturday 2nd September and Sunday 3rd September at 8pm 

Exciting: This year's X Factor is promised to be full of 'original talent' and will also see the return of the dreaded Six Seat Challenge during bootcamp 

Exciting: This year's X Factor is promised to be full of 'original talent' and will also see the return of the dreaded Six Seat Challenge during bootcamp 

Don't miss it! The X Factor returns to ITV on Saturday 2nd September and Sunday 3rd September at 8pm - Pictures host Dermot O'Leary 

Don't miss it! The X Factor returns to ITV on Saturday 2nd September and Sunday 3rd September at 8pm - Pictures host Dermot O'Leary