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The start date of the X Factor 2013 has finally been confirmed by ITV following weeks of speculation.

According to the Mirror the show will return on Saturday August 31 – and this year fans will be able to enjoy a double bill of shows from the very start of the series.

Previous years gave seen The X Factor span the entire weekend when auditions have reached their later stages, and when the live finals have begun.

However this year the first Saturday shows will be devoted to the ‘closed’ auditions which see the hopefuls perform for the judges in a private room, while Sunday’s edition will feature the second round of auditions in front of a live audience.

“If contestants make it through, there’s still tension about whether they will make it to boot camp as they have to audition again in front of an audience,” a source explained.

“It would look odd mixing the footage of closed auditions with the audience try-outs, so we’re splitting them up. This way, people won’t have to wait long to see which acts have made it to boot camp.”

The insider also told The Sun that the double bill was also part of the show’s latest bid to beat Strictly Come Dancing in the ratings after being trounced in 2012.

“We want it to be The X Factor weekend. It’s not about bombarding people and overdoing it,” the source said.

“We are celebrating the show because it’s back with a new look for the tenth anniversary.”

This year’s final will take place on Saturday December 15 and Sunday December 16.

The show is also starting later than the 2012 series which kicked off in mid-August.

This year will see the return of Sharon Osbourne to the judging panel, joining Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh – who has said that the 2013 series will be his last.