Gary Barlow has revealed that The X Factor UK’s ban on managed acts has been lifted, allowing such hopefuls to audition for the first time this year.
The Take That frontman let the news slip during an interview on BBC Radio 2 this morning after confirming that he's in talks to return as a judge.
Barlow told presenter Chris Evans: "They're letting people apply that already have managers. They're hoping for a more developed artist and a more developed group, if they have management."
Bosses confirmed that anyone aged 16 or over can enter, whether they're "an amateur artist, have had a management deal in the past or have one now."
Previously, only unsigned singers were allowed to take part. Boyband The Mend were controversially dropped from the show last year after it emerged they are represented by Nigel Martin Smith, the mogul who formed Take That.
The change had been expected after Simon Cowell announced that the American version will permit managed acts to take part from its second season.
Auditions for the ninth series of The X Factor begin next Saturday in Liverpool.