Simon Cowell has ordered fellow X Factor judges Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole to “get tough” with their contestants, according to the papers.

The News Of The World reports that the mogul has told them that their main focus on the show should be the acts – and that they need to be more critical of them where necessary.

And that could mean there is less focus on other aspects of the show – such as what the pair are wearing during the live shows.

“Simon felt that last year Cheryl and Dannii went too easy on their own acts,” an insider told the paper.

“He believes they are nervous to say what they really think in case fans think they are being too mean. They hate being booed but Simon reckons they need to grow thicker skins.

“The music industry is unforgiving and he wants the panel to reflect that this year – even if that’s brutal,” the source added. “Simon’s advice is if people don’t like what they say, it’s tough.”

The new series begins on ITV1 on August 21, when viewers will get to see the guest judges who stood in for new mum Dannii at the auditions.

Pixie Lott, Nicole Scherzinger, Natalie Imbruglia and Katy Perry were among those who took over from Dannii, who will return for the judges’ houses stage.