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The X Factor 2017 judges say they are being "blatantly honest" this year

They are, however, excited about contestants singing original material

©Syco / Thames / ITV Plc

The X Factor 2017 hopefuls had better brace themselves - as the judges are apparently being "blatantly honest" this year.

You might have thought the ITV show's panel was already as candid as it could get, given that it's headed by telly's Mr Nasty, Simon Cowell.

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But at a press launch for the new series today, Sharon Osbourne revealed that the fearsome foursome are no longer sugar-coating their criticism.

"I think this year is probably the first that I feel all of us have been blatantly honest with the contestants," she told Digital Spy and The Mirror.

Simon himself agreed, commenting: "You can see it. When I watched the first episode I could see that it felt different.

"It was like being less aware of big caricatures but just being absolutely honest – why you liked them, why you didn't like them, how they could improve.

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"There's no such thing as a perfect first audition."

That might be bad news for the contestants, some of whom have bared their souls by performing self-penned songs.

However, the judges have been praising the move to encourage acts to use original material.

"It's been great," Sharon continued. "To actually hear an artist come in and audition, singing their own songs has been a breath of fresh air. I love it."

Nicole Scherzinger added: "My biggest thing that I am excited about is artists being able to sing their own material. That is where their true colours come out."

Mrs O previously signalled that she is done with so-called 'joke acts' after mentoring Honey G in last year's series.

The X Factor is back on ITV this Saturday and Sunday at 8.00pm.