Gary Barlow has heaped praise upon a fiendish new X Factor twist which reportedly reared its head at boot camp.

The latest day of the competition saw hopefuls performing for both judges and audience, only to be either sent home or to sit on one of six chairs on stage, each representing a place in the judges’ houses.

However they soon learned that earning a place on the chairs was no guarantee of a place in the next round.

And not only were their futures in the contest far from certain but any one of the judges had the power to send someone packing and replace them with someone else.

This was a completely unexpected twist for Bootcamp,” a source said.

“The changes meant all of the hopefuls were permanently on the edge of their seats, wondering if they would lose their place at any moment. Nobody’s place was secure until the end.”

Sharon described the process as ‘bittersweet’, adding: “I hate to turn away such talented people but there are only so many seats.”

However Gary appeared to approve, later taking to Twitter to say: “That was the most incredible and exciting X Factor session EVER.”

According to reports Louis Walsh will mentor the boys in this year’s competition, Nicole Scherzinger will look after the girls, Gary Barlow is in charge of the groups and Sharon Osbourne has the over-25s.