Simon Cowell hopes new X Factor panel will make the show "exciting, fresh and different"

Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell has reportedly called up the new panel of X Factor judges ahead of today's first auditions to tell them to "step up". According to The Mirror, the music mogul reckons the new panel has what it takes to make this year's series their own.

This year's panel sees Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh, Tulisa Contostavlos and Kelly Rowland all take part in the show, making Louis the only returning judge from last year's show.

The paper says that Cowell urged the group “step up to the mark and make this show your own," saying it was up to them to make sure viewers didn't miss Cheryl Cole or Dannii Mingoue.

A show source told the tabloid this morning: “Simon knows there are execs on the show who have concerns but he is placing trust in this new team. In Gary he thinks he has a leader and thinks Tulisa could be the surprise success.”

The first X Factor 2011 auditions start today in Birmingham. The X Factor will air from September on ITV.

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