The growing influence of the Italian version of the TV talent show 'The X Factor' is confirmed by the fact that the winner of the current edition will automatically qualify for the country's flagship Sanremo Festival.

The show, which began its third edition on the state-owned network Rai 2 on Sept. 10, has attracted strong ratings since it first aired in March 2008. After the end of the first two-month contest, the second-placed Giusy Ferreri subsequently became the best-selling new Italian artist in several years. She secured a deal with Sony Music Entertainment.

The Sanremo Festival is usually held over the course of several nights at the end of February and the beginning of March, but it is believed that in 2010 the 60th edition will be brought forward to mid-February. It has been confirmed that the show will be presented by Italian TV personality Antonella Clerici.

The 'X-Factor' winner will take part in the Sanremo Festival's main competition.