Louis Walsh leaves The X Factor at the end of this year - but the veteran judge says the new format for the boot camp stage makes the 2013 series "a whole new show".
"There’s a twist in the boot camp that we didn’t realise was going to be so amazing," Walsh told RadioTimes.com. "There’s a big audience of 4,000 people. And there’s six chairs. You only want six people to bring to judges' houses. As they sing, the chairs get filled, but on each occasion [ie in each category] somebody better came out. So we had to take somebody who thought they were through, and send them home. That was a really tough thing to do."
Walsh said the live audience's shocked reaction to the new format will give the boot camp episodes a completely different feel to previous years. "There was a lot of drama, a lot of tears, a lot of tension, but it’s fantastic for the show. We didn’t know it was going to be as emotional, and as draining, and as real as this. It’s like the gladiators in Rome. Getting them to sing, and picking them, and then saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got somebody better - go.’ It was tough, especially for the girls, because the girls' category is really strong. These people are literally singing for their lives, like this is the most important thing ever. I found it really emotional.
"This is a whole new show. The audience were calling out names, very gladiatorial. They were genuinely angry, and backing certain acts. It was kind of Jerry Springer-ish. In a good way."
The X Factor returns to ITV on 31 August