Booing Has Been Banned by The X Factor

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THE X FACTOR: Simon Cowell. CR: Ian Derry / FOX

When the U.S. auditions for The X Factor began in front of huge audiences a month ago, things were so different. Nicole Scherzinger was a mere judge! There was a big piece of hair wearing eccentric colors named Cheryl Cole! And, most crucially, Simon encouraged the audience to jeer bad auditions: "You’re here to tell us who you like, who you don’t like. You can certainly be as badly behaved as you want, actually." That day, the L.A. audience took him up on the offer and freely booed the most hapless contestants, but when the newly overhauled judging panel debuted yesterday in New Jersey, Cowell had changed his tune: Now, booing was banned from the start, and unhappy audience members were told to bite their tongues and remain "supportive." Is X Factor feeling the heat from upbeat shows like The Voice and the last season of American Idol, or did Cowell find that compared to a giant audience of booing spectators, he suddenly seemed like the nice one? [EW]