Two thirds of The X Factor 2017 contestants in the later stages of the show were invited to audition, it's been reported.
The show doesn't hide the fact that some acts are invited to apply for the series, insisting that all contestants go through the same process.
A spokesperson for The X Factor said: “It’s no secret, like many other TV talent shows, we approach people to make them aware of the auditions. Anyone who applies goes through the exact same process.
“All auditions are judged on the performance on the day.”
However the Daily Star on Sunday newspaper suggests some contestants feel those invited onto the show have an advantage.
"The whole point of X Factor is that it gives anyone the chance to make it. But this series, it’s like only ones cherry-picked by the show have got to judges’ houses," the source said. "It will feel to some like the process is fixed in favour of the ones picked out by staff.”
Back in 2015 it was reported that only two of the Top 24 acts at judges' houses weren't invited to audition.
“The days of Tesco Mary walking in to audition off her own bat and blowing away the judges are gone," a source said at the time. "As far as producers are concerned it is a talent show and they will do all they can to ensure the country’s top talent auditions.”
The increasingly difficult search for talent comes as more and more singing shows pop up on TV.
Even Sky1 is now getting in on the act, launching its own show called Sing: Ultimate A Cappella fronted by Cat Deeley.