5 JUNE 2007

Simon Cowell had better watch out. The X Factor's resident Mr Nasty could be about to meet his match in the form of the talent show's new panel member Dannii Minogue. She may be a newcomer to the series but the feisty pop singer is determined to be the woman behind this year's winning act.

"When it comes to mentoring the acts, the gloves will be off," promises Dannii, who earlier this year took on judging duties on Australia's Got Talent. "Just because I'm the new girl, I won't be a pushover. Simon will soon see my competitive streak."

Kylie's little sister got a chance to size up the competition this week as she met with Simon and X Factor veteran Sharon Osbourne to sift through the first batch of hopefuls as auditions began. Also joining the panel was Grease Is The Word's choreographer Brian Friedman, who will be keeping an eye out for fancy footwork during auditions. The 29-year-old American has worked with a host of top US names, including Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Prince.

As well as fresh judges, new members of the team include Big Brother presenter Dermot O'Leary, who will host the show. And former Top Of The Pops favourite Fearne Cotton will take on presenting duties for Xtra Factor on ITV 2.

Nationwide auditions for the programme - which begins in August on ITV - will take place throughout this month, continuing with an open day on Saturday at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium. Anyone hoping to follow in the footsteps of former winners Leona Lewis and Shane Ward can turn up on the day to try their luck in front of the judges.

Photo: ©
Kylie's little sister is preparing to hold her own with Simon and fellow panel members Sharon Osbourne and American choreographer Brian Friedman. Bringing viewers all the action will be the show's new hosts Dermot O'Leary and Fearne CottonPhoto: © RexClick on photo to enlarge
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