In the previous two series, the judges have had four acts each in the final stages, increasing the finalists to 16.
However, Barlow tweeted earlier this week that he had only picked three acts to go through to the Live Shows.
"Back at Judges Houses, it's time for 3 yeses and 3 nos! I hate this bit," he wrote.
16 acts were brought in for the 2010 series, when the judges were allowed to bring one extra 'wild card' act to the Live Shows. Last year, the judges could pick four acts automatically.
The reduction in numbers should mean that there are no double eliminations during this year's competition.
The X Factor auditions conclude with a double bill of shows this weekend on ITV1.
Photo gallery - Gary Barlow and Cheryl Cole at Judges' Houses:
Copyright: Ken McKay/Rex Features