Simon Cowell has admitted X Factor contestants have not always enjoyed enough of the limelight because they have been overshadowed by the judges.
The TV mogul has filmed auditions for the seventh series of the hit show, which features guest judge Nicole Scherzinger.
He said: "Sometimes we have gotten into the habit, and obviously I'm partly responsible for this, of the judges' personalities being talked about more than the contestants.
"The judges are there for their opinions, so for me the most important criteria for sitting on a judging panel is, do you actually know what you are talking about?"
The TV judge warned that sob stories would not help this year's wannabes, saying: "If you've entered because you want to get rich and famous then that's great - just don't pretend you're doing it in memory of your dead dog. No one is going to believe you."
Meanwhile, in a separate interview with the Radio Times, Simon heaped praise on Pussycat Doll Nicole, who was at the Manchester auditions. He said his guest judges, Geri Halliwell, Natalie Imbruglia, Pixie Lott and Katy Perry had one thing in common - they looked good.
"All the guest judges were different in the kinds of acts they liked, but the one thing they have in common is that they are all beautiful girls. Nicole Scherzinger seems to have fallen in love with Manchester, and Manchester has fallen in love with her, and Louis (Walsh) has fallen in love with Nicole."
The X Factor begins on Saturday August 21 at 7.30pm.