The X Factor is reportedly set to undergo a major shake-up next series, with voting becoming free – in a bid to attract younger viewers potentially put off by call charges.

According to The Sun Simon Cowell is prepared to make the change – even though it will lose the show revenue – to allow those watching to cast their vote via social media.

A source said it could allow millions more viewers to make their voice heard, and possibly stop “dull and old” acts from winning.

“Simon is determined to introduce free voting this year because it will reinvent the show,” the insider said.

“It means millions more young people will be able to vote on favourite websites like Twitter. Viewers will feel more engaged and want to continue watching each week when they know their opinion will count.”

The source added that had social media been employed in previous series – including the most recent, which was won by Sam Bailey – the results could have been very different.

“We believe Sam Bailey would have been beaten by Luke Friend who only ended up coming third,” the source explained.

“One Direction would have beaten Matt Cardle in 2010 and Olly Murs would almost certainly have received more votes than Joe McElderry in 2009.

The move would bring the show in line with X Factor USA, which already has free voting.

Its ratings rival Strictly Come Dancing – which trounced X Factor in the viewing figures once again last year – also allows fans to vote for free via the show’s website.