X Factor will drop room auditions and return to the arena this year

Co-host Caroline Flack says she thinks returning to the opening “excitement” of the big live auditions is the right way to go

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We’ve already had exiting judges and new presenters, but now we can add another change to the growing list ahead of this year’s X Factor: co-host Caroline Flack has confirmed this year’s auditions will take place in the live arenas, ditching the in-room format altogether. 

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It’s a sort of new, old format as the room auditions were only brought back a couple of years ago after being a permanent fixture during early series of the talent contest. The change means that the first time this year’s contestants perform in front of the judges will be with a huge crowd behind them. But Flack, who’ll co-host the 2015 competition alongside Olly Murs, reckons it’s the right move. 

“I think the arenas create loads of excitement,” she told RadioTimes.com. “For me, when you’re there and you walk into the arena, you feel that excitement. It’s such a good feeling.”

Personally I’ve always quite liked the in-room auditions because it gives us a chance to see some playfulness among the judges. They’re in close proximity for a long time on audition day, and the banter invariably follows. At some point the panel usually get up and leave Simon Cowell to sit through a painful audition – last year the judges even tucked into a slice of cake from a contestant’s mum as they performed. 

But from the panel’s point of view, it probably makes sense; putting someone through to the next round with no knowledge of how they’ll be in front of a large crowd can be a time waster. After all, this show is looking to find someone to top the charts, not impress in front of their bedroom mirror. If they can handle an arena audition with little-to-no experience, chances are they’re not going to fold like wet cardboard come the dreaded Six Chair Challenge and beyond. 

It also gives the panel that handy fifth judge as the audience offers instant feedback on the singers they want to see more – or less – of. Intimidating for sure, but Cowell is often seen looking to a crowd to guide his opinion – they’re the people he’s hoping the act will sell to, after all.  

Caroline says filming has yet to start on these opening auditions. She herself is busy in Mallorca filming ITV2’s brand new series of Love Island which kicks off this weekend – she’s based in the sun-drenched location for another week, before she starts the business of flying back and forth to juggle both shows. Let’s hope the two series have stocked up on plenty of waterproof mascara in anticipation of all those teary contestants…

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X Factor returns later this year, while Love Island kicks off on ITV2 this Sunday