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'X Factor' slammed for 'unfair' invite-only auditions

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Simon Cowell - The X Factor boss and record executive celebrates his 52nd birthday on Friday.

© PA Images / Chris Pizzello/AP/Press Association Images

Simon Cowell has been accused of 'making a mockery' out of The X Factor by inviting acts to private audition days.

The Syco boss has reportedly allowed singers a chance to "bypass the huge crowds" at open auditions, a move that some have said is unfair to hopefuls at the notoriously long and strenuous try-outs.

"It makes a mockery of the ordinary people," a source said to The Sun. "It's unfair that they queue in the rain for hours and others get invited to cosy auditions. They're encouraging established acts to use the show as a marketing tool."

The publication alleges that 20 acts turned up to an invite-only audition at the offices of X Factor production company FremantleMedia on May 13. Meanwhile, the first filmed audition in front of the judges is taking place on Wednesday (May 23) in Liverpool.

A spokesperson for The X Factor responded: "To ensure we find the best talent we have been exploring all avenues. All contestants are auditioned on merit and everyone has the same number of auditions."

Fast-track auditions are speculated to have been part of past X Factor series and it previously emerged that Britain's Got Talent finalists The Loveable Rogues were asked to audition after being spotted by producers on YouTube.

A BGT representative dismissed the invite as a "normal" part of the selection process, explaining: "We let people know about auditions in lots of ways, from ads in local papers to fliers distributed at festivals."

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