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'The X Factor' U.K. could switch to free phone voting to attract younger voters

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Voting by phone on "The X Factor" U.K. has automatically included phone charges, but that could change to toll-free phone voting in 2014. An unnamed "X Factor" insider said in a report published by The Sun on Jan. 11, 2014: "Simon is determined to introduce free voting this year because it will reinvent the show. It will mean millions more young people will be able to vote on websites like Twitter."

As previously reported, insiders told The Sun that Cowell was not very happy that 36-year-old Sam Bailey (a married mother of two) was the winner of "The X Factor" U.K. in 2013, instead of 16-year-old Tamera Foster, who was reportedly the "X Factor" U.K. contestant that Cowell wanted most to win in 2013. Foster ended up in fifth place.

Bailey triumphed over other teenage contestants, such as 17-year-old Nicholas McDonald (second place) and 16-year-old Luke Friend (third place).

If free voting had been in place on the show, allowing more young people to vote, the insider said that the outcomes on "The X Factor" U.K. in previous years would have been different.

The insider commented to The Sun: "We believe Sam Bailey would’ve been beaten by Luke Friend, One Direction would’ve beaten Matt Cardle [in 2010] and Olly Murs most certainly would almost certainly have received more votes than Joe McElderry [in 2009]."

"The X Factor" U.K. will have have at least two new judges in 2014. Gary Barlow and Sharon Osbourne left the show at the end of 2013; their replacements should be officially announced in May 2014. Cowell is widely expected to return to "The X Factor" U.K. judging panel in 2014 to fill the spot vacated by Barlow. ITV has renewed the show through 2017, and several British tabloids have reported that Cowell's return to the show was part of the renewal deal.

Although British tabloids such as The Sun have been publishing rumors that former "X Factor" judge Cheryl Cole is in talks to replace Osbourne, Cole has repeatedly denied in interviews that she is going back to being an "X Factor" judge. Cole says she wants to focus on her music career and does not want to work for Cowell again after he decided to fire her from "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011.

Nicole Scherzinger became a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012. It has not yet been announced if she will remain with the show in 2014.

Louis Walsh (who has been an "X Factor" U.K. judge since the show's 2004 debut) and Dermot O'Leary (who began hosting "The X Factor" U.K. in 2007) are expected to remain with the show in 2014.

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