X Factor's Simon Cowell has defended lowering the age limit for this year's show.
For the first time in five years the competition is now open to those under the age of 16, with those 14 and over being allowed to enter.
But the change has its critics with former X Factor judge Gary Barlow suggesting that even the previous age limit of 16 was too low.
He said: “Sixteen is just too young to be in a competition with this kind of pressure."
Simon today hit back at the claims - and at Gary - saying: “Can you imagine saying to Gary Barlow at 16, ‘You’re too young to be a musician’? Give me a break.
"They really would have listened to me, ‘Yeah we’ll wait a few years Simon’.
"Whether you are 14, 15, 16 you are going to get emotional at that point."
Speaking to the Daily Mirror newspaper this morning, Simon continued: "And we are very cautious about anyone who gets through to that stage of the competition.
"I am conscious of if someone is fragile, but at the same time if someone has got talent at that age and this could be their one opportunity we should encourage them.”
After yesterday in Plymouth, open X Factor auditions will be held in London, Edinburgh, Gateshead, Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff and Birmingham.
Will you be auditioning for The X Factor this year? Add your comments below!